What is bullying? If a youth or a gang at school steals goods or money from your child, is insulting or shows contempt, threatens or hits your child, or forces him/her to do things against his/her will; then it's called bullying. These incidents are rare, but your child could become a victim. The following useful tips should be read and discussed with your child.
- Your child should not carry a large amount of money.
- Remind your child not to brag about owning expensive things like a Discman or electronic games.
- In the schoolyard, your child should stay where most of the kids are playing. Bullies don't like to have witnesses.
- Your child should avoid walking alone. If possible, he/she should try to walk to and from school with good friends.
- If a schoolmate hits your child, he/she should tell a supervisor or a teacher immediately.
- When using public transit, he/she should try to sit near other adults.
- Your child must remain calm and not act scared. He/she should try not to show that he/she is upset or angry because bullies love to get a reaction. If your child stays calm and hides his/her emotions, bullies might get bored and leave him/her alone.
- Your child must answer bullies firmly in short sentences such as "Yes. No. Leave me alone." He/she musn't start a discussion or argue with bullies to provoke them.
- Remember to tell your child that violence never solved anything. Your child must avoid fighting. Should he/she feel threatened, he/she should give the bullies what they want. Remind him/her that personal property is not worth an injury.
- Your child must then observe the bullies carefully and remember as much information as possible: height, age, hair colour, clothes, etc.
Parents can reduce bullying by working to build understanding at home:
- Teach your child that everyone deserves respect. That includes accepting differences—whether racial, cultural or in ability. Model respectful behaviour in all your interactions.
- Help your child find ways to show anger without verbally or physically hurting others.
- Talk with your child about the violence he or she sees on television, in video games, and in their school and neighbourhood; discuss the real-life consequences.
- If your child exhibits disturbing behaviours—angry outbursts, excessive fighting, cruelty to animals, fire-setting or lack of friends—get help. Talk with a trusted professional in your child's school or community.
- Make time to communicate. Encourage your child to share their day. Ask questions; discuss issues. Pay attention if your child complains of bullying, and alert the school if necessary.
- Teach your child that applauding a bully or standing idly by is wrong, and that they have a responsibility to intervene by telling the bully to stop or going to get help.
- Find out what the school’s bullying policy is. A good policy takes the problem seriously and employs common sense. Expectations are clearly communicated and consequences consistently and fairly applied. Follow-up services for aggressors and victims are available.
- If your school does not have an adequate policy, offer to create a working group to develop one. Include input from school personnel, parents, other community members, and young people.
To learn more about bullying prevention and the nature and extent of bullying in Canada, please click here...