Bullying behaviours and being bullied by someone in children and adolescents is common.
In many ways dealing with situations where people disagree is a vital learning curve in how to deal with people in general. Bullying behaviours and being bullied by someone however is a very different behaviour altogether. Bullying is a repeated psychological, physical or social tormenting of one person by another or a group. It can happen face to face, at a distance by rumours or exclusion or even using technology.
It is important as a parent to keep an eye out for signs that your child or adolescent is bullying or being bullied.
Indicators of a bullying victim include:
- Changes in their behaviour
- Reduced self-esteem
- Newly fearful and anxious
- Changes in friendships and what they say about their friends
- Loss of friends
- Not wanting to participate or attend
- Changes in mood – often teary
- Drop in performance at school
- Ripped clothing
- More bruises or scratches than normal
- Missing or broken belongings
- Drop in physical health
In the case of cyber-bullying, some of the above will also apply but may also include:
- Receiving random calls, emails, notes or even postal items
- Hiding their online activities
- Seeming anxious when they receive a message
- Being upset after reading messages
- Seeming hesitant to go online but spending more time then seems normal online
- Withdrawing from normally pleasurable activities and friends
Your child may possibly be the bully. In order to identify whether they are, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your child the dominant member of a group?
- Do they tease or torment one person inside or outside the group?
- Do they isolate one person and pick on them mentally, verbally or even physically?
- Do they lack compassion for this person?
- Do they talk about this person behind their back and seek to exclude them.
Whether you are dealing with a bully or a victim of bullying, as parents it is important to seek help for yourself and your child. Speaking with a psychologist can make all the difference.