How Parents & Schools Can Prevent Bullying

How Parents & Schools Can Prevent Bullying

With kids back in school, the issue of bullying may come up. It could be the case that a child is being bullied, or they might be the bully. Both children need the support of trusted adults to help remedy the situation. So, it is important for parents and schools to have the tools to prevent bullying and intervene early if bullying does occur.

Types of Bullying

How children are bullied has significantly changed in recent years. Verbal, physical and social bullying still occurs; however, the dynamic has changed with cyberbullying. With emails, social media and other platforms on the Internet, bullying has become something that youths cannot escape from, and they cannot keep hidden. Their cell phones and devices go everywhere with them, and so does the harassment.

As bullying changes, adults must remain aware of these new tactics and how to address them properly. Here are some ways that children can be bullied.

Physical Bullying

Physical bullying involves using physical acts to exert power over other children. While physical bullying causes harm to a child’s body or property, it can also cause psychological harm.

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Shoving
  • Spitting
  • Stealing or damaging property

Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying occurs when children use words to harm the individual being bullied. It can escalate to the point where it can seriously affect the child’s mental health.

  • Name calling
  • Insults
  • Teasing
  • Intimidation
  • Targeting remarks, such as homophobic or racist comments
  • Verbal abuse

Social Bullying

Social bullying is more difficult to recognize and is often done behind the person’s back. It is intended to harm someone’s social reputation and humiliate them.

  • Spreading rumours
  • Negative gestures
  • Playing jokes to embarrass
  • Mimicking or mocking
  • Encouraging others to socially exclude someone

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is intentional and repeated harm inflicted over social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms. Cyberbullying can be public or private.

  • Abusive or hurtful texts, emails, posts, images or videos
  • Excluding others online
  • Spreading gossip or rumours online
  • Imitating others online or using their log-in

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Bullying?

Bullying can significantly impact children, both those being bullied and those who are bullies. There are many short-term and long-term effects caused by bullying. Children can also be affected both physically and mentally.

  • Social isolation
  • Disrupted sleep schedules
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Low self-esteem
  • Avoiding school
  • Anxiety
  • Higher risk of illness
  • Physical symptoms caused by mental strain (stomachaches, headaches, etc)
  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse

These are important reasons to take preventive action against bullying. It is the responsibility of caregivers and educators to help prevent bullying from happening.

Identifying Bullying Behaviour

There are certain signs children exhibit when they are the bullies. It is important to notice not only those who are being bullied, but also the bullies. These children need help as well. There is usually a reason behind their actions. So by identifying the signs of a bully, guardians and educators can assist in developing corrective actions to stop bullies from acting out.

Here are some signs that a child might be bullying others.

  • They enjoy violence
  • They are often aggressive towards even adults
  • They need to control and dominate others and situations
  • Exhibiting traits such as hot-tempered, impulsive and easily frustrated
  • Often test limits and boundaries, and break rules
  • Talk their way out of difficult and tense situations
  • They lack empathy, especially towards others who are bullied
  • They have experienced bullying themselves
  • They get in trouble at school

Signs Children are Being Bullied

It is important to look for signs in those who are being bullied. Children often will not come to an adult when they are being bullied as they feel ashamed or that there will be repercussions. While sometimes it may be difficult to identify, adults should be able to help children in need if they have the proper knowledge.

  • Having nightmares
  • Have become withdrawn
  • Begin to bully other children
  • Attempting or talking about suicide
  • They are upset during or after using technology
  • They are afraid to go to school, skipping school or starting to do poorly in school
  • “Losing” belongings or coming home with clothes or books destroyed
  • Coming home, or to school, with unexplained bruises or cuts

Responding to Bullying

Having an adult, whether it is a parent or a teacher, respond to bullying can help reduce the impacts of bullying and even stop it. It can be as simple as having someone who will listen and understand them without blame or judgment. Now children may not always feel comfortable bringing it up, so it is the responsibility of adults to be able to identify and address bullying early on.

When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying, they send the message that it is unacceptable. It has been statistically shown that bullying decreases or ends with the support of educators. Here are just some ways that parents and teachers can help stop bullying.

  • Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult and report bullying if it happens.
  • Start conversations about daily life and feelings.
  • Talk to them about how to respond to bullying, whether they are the victim or a bystander.
    • Most cases bullying stop when peers intervene or do not support bullying.
  • Encourage positive activities and hobbies.
  • Build their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Be an example of how they should treat others.
  • Caregivers and schools should work together. Keep communication open and be involved.
  • Provide access to support systems.
  • Intervene in bullying incidents.
    • Early intervention is key.

Bullying Resources for Children, Parents & Schools

There are more resources available for parents and educators to access for children that are experiencing bullying on our Bullying webpage.

Bullying


September 15, 2022