Bullying 101 – How to beat the bully

Research indicates children are bullied because of their weight, clothing styles, disabilities, sexual orientation and low income backgrounds.

Bullying is still very much alive and well among our children, and in our schools.

Gone are the days where bullying was a playground problem. It has escalated to such an extent that bullying occurs in our homes and even over social media.

As a result of being bullied, many children tend to self-harm, skip school and even run away from home.

In the worst case scenarios, some children take their own lives, just to put an end to the suffering.

Research indicates children are bullied because of their weight, clothing styles, disabilities, sexual orientation and low income backgrounds.

Sadly, most parents are not even aware their children are being bullied until it’s too late.

At least 43% of children are bullied on a daily basis, ranging from verbal, physical and even sexual bullying.

Most children don’t report it because they are scared it will only get worse, or they will not be taken seriously.

Children are often too embarrassed to admit they are being bullied, and therefore also do not report the problems.

Here are the top five signs you should look out for if you suspect your child is being bullied:

1. Unexplained physical bruises.

2. They refuse to go to school.

3. Sudden changes in their personality or behaviour.

4. Changes in their sleep patterns, or regular nightmares.

5. Sudden changes in their eating habits.

Bullies are unfortunately found in every school, wreaking havoc in their victims’ lives.

Parents often feel hopeless as they watch their children go to school, knowing their young ones are forced to bear the brunt of being bullied.

However, as a parent, you can take steps in assisting your child in breaking away from being a victim of a schoolyard bully.

1. Talk to teachers:

If you are aware of your child being bullied, it is of the utmost importance that you bring the problem up with your child’s teacher immediately. The teacher and other school staff can then keep an eye out and take necessary steps against the bully when caught.

2. Contact the bully’s parents:

Despite any embarrassment your child might feel, their safeguarding is your main objective. Contact the bully’s parents and ask if you could set up an appointment with them, discussing how their child’s behaviour and actions are affecting your child’s life.

3. Self defense lessons:

You can also send your child to karate or boxing lessons. While it is never advisable to encourage your child to react to bullying in a violent way, the sports will give them enough confidence to stand up to their bullies, knowing they will be able to defend themselves if the matter was to get out of hand.

4. Encourage your child to speak up:

Tell your child there is no shame in walking away from the bully, thereby avoiding the conflict, and going to tell an adult.

If you are a victim of bullying, you can contact the South African child care toll free line on 080 005 5555.

  AUTHOR
Zianne Leibrandt

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