Bullying involves repeated acts of physical, emotional or social behaviour that are intentional, controlling, and hurtful. Bullying is a learned behaviour, evident as early as two years of age. Bullying can be either direct or indirect. Direct bullying usually is seen and felt readily. Indirect bullying (deliberate exclusion, name calling, etc.) is much more difficult to remedy, and should be clearly seen as different from direct bullying.
Bullying has lasting effects, even into adulthood. Each of us can probably recall at least one incident in our childhood in which we were bullied, how it made us feel then, and how that incident shaped who we are today. Children who are being bullied can not manage these situations on their own. So often it bullying is happening right in front of us but we don’t see it. If your child exhibits one or more of these warning signs, he/she may be a victim of bullying. Talk with your child to explore further whether or not he/she is being bullied.
A child being bullied often:
- Withdraws socially; has few or no friends.
- Feels isolated, alone, and sad.
- Feels picked on or persecuted.
- Feels rejected and not liked.
- Frequently complains of illness.
- Doesn’t want to go to school; avoids some classes or skips school.
- Brings home damaged possessions or reports them “lost”.
- Cries easily; displays mood swings and talks about hopelessness.
- Has poor social skills.
- Talks about running away; talks of suicide.
- Threatens violence to self and others.
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
- Takes, or attempts to take, “protection” to school (a stick, knife, gun, etc.).
- Displays “victim” body language – hangs head, hunches shoulders, avoids eye contact.
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