Children who are bullied
The latest research shows that children between Grade 4 and Grade 6 have the highest bullying rate in the world, and that the low pass rate is directly related to it. Other grades also have alarmingly high numbers.
LISE ASK: Nowadays, I often hear and read about children being bullied. Is it really that serious, or is it just the "in" thing to talk about?
LOUIS ANSWER: No, it is very serious, and even more serious than one realizes. The latest research shows that children between Grade 4 and Grade 6 have the highest bullying rate in the world, and that the low pass rate is directly related to it. Other grades also have alarmingly high numbers.
LISE ASK: But children are generally playful and tease each other frequently. When is it bullying, and when not?
LOUIS ANSWER: You are absolutely right: one does not have to regard every incident or rough play between children as "bullying". Bullying is where the child is in a weaker position than the other child or children (physically smaller, does not fit socially, etc.) and does not voluntarily participate in the behavior. In other words, he / she is helpless and does not want to be part of it. It must also be behavior that is repeated over a period of time, so that it is a continuing problem.
LISE ASK: How can parents notice their child being bullied?
LOUIS ANSWER: Children who are regularly bullied, even at a young age, usually develop some form of depression. The signs may be that the child wants to play or socialize less with friends, withdraw from the family, sleep excessively and make excuses to avoid school. Physical complaints, such as headaches and stomach problems, can also occur without any medical cause.
LISE ASK: Should parents interfere, or will it go away on their own? What can they do?
LOUIS ANSWER: It depends a lot on the child's age. If a child under the age of 12 is bullied, one cannot expect him to protect himself. It is the job of parents and teachers. Good communication with your child and learning life skills at a young age is of course very important. With teens, it gets harder because they usually shy away from communicating with their parents. The parents' interference in their problems is also an embarrassment for them. In this case, one must think carefully about the situation. If only one child is bullying your teen, you may be able to persuade him to come up with a solution. It will be a life lesson for him at the same time. But if your teen is physically threatened by a group of children or is being bullied by a teacher, it is your right and duty to intervene. My advice to parents is to get the school and possibly other concerned parents together for a conversation so everyone can work on a solution together.