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My Child is being bullied at school, what now?

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My Child is being bullied at school

My child is being bullied at school. We do not hear this often. This topic takes me straight to my “soft” place. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is people that take advantage or hurt, children, the elderly or handicapped.

Unfortunately this happens way too often. On the other hand it is also one of the topics that most parents want to keep to themselves, because they tend to find it a little embarrassing. Why? Why is it embarrassing. It is not like the child asked for this. People cannot wait to speak up when animals are being mistreated, or some form of undesirable social activity is taking place. When it comes to our own children we keep quiet about the misjudgment, while we should actually scream it from to top of buildings.



To talk about bullying we first need to understand what bullying is, and how to identify the signs.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive, verbal, physical, social or psychosocial behaviour among school aged children, from an individual or group of children, towards a single child or group of children.

The behavior is often repeated or habitual. It is usually because of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from normal conflict. Unfortunately, bullying is still very much part of everyday lives of thousands of children. To be exact, according to one study over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.

With these staggering figures, we can see that bullying, is a real problem in our society today. According to pacer, the federal government began collecting data on school bullying in 2005.

Now that we know what bullying is. What is NOT bullying?

There are also some situations, although they are not very pleasant, that cannot constitute to bullying:

  • Mutual Conflict – a Disagreement with no imbalance of power. Unresolved mutual conflict is usually between two parties, and not one sided.
  • Single episodes – a Single episode, which is over quickly, usually do not constitute to bullying.
  • Social rejection by an individual or group – This can purely just be a conflict of personalities or a difference of opinions.

When most people think about bullying, they think about physical bullying. In reality bullying in a lot of cases, goes beyond the physical, and manifests in different forms. It might seem strange, but physical bullying is not necessarily the technique, that causes the most damage.

Let’s find out the different kinds of bullying techniques there are:


Although this technique is the province of girls, most physical bullying starts out with verbal bullying as well.

Girls in general are subtler than boys. Girls use verbal bullying, and social exclusion techniques to dominate others, and show their superiority and power.The reason that girls are more prone to use this way of bullying, is purely because girls do not tend to go over to the physical part of bullying.

Because of this reason, and knowing that the other girl will probably also not retaliate physically, they seem to find it easy to use this technique. However, there are also many boys that use the verbal bullying technique, especially when they do not think that physical retaliation will come from the other party.Verbal abuse in most cases are more difficult to detect, because there will be no physical signs.

Some of the signs to look out for:

  • Negative self-image appearance that was not there before.
  • He or she might say things like “no one likes me” or “I always do the wrong things”
  • Social withdrawn, not wanting to go to school or social meetings anymore.
  • He might show signs of depression, moodiness or anxiousness.
  • Eating disorders, not wanting to eat.

What can you or your child do, if he or she is the victim of verbal bullying?

  • Do not belittle your child’s feeling. For him or her this is serious, and you should handle it as being serious.
  • Do not blame him or her for not standing up for themselves.
  • Have an open conversation to try and find out exactly what happened, where and how often.
  • Strategize with him or her by giving real life examples of situations and how you handled it.
  • Teach your child not to react to the bully. Tell your child that reacting out of anger will only fuel the situation.
  • Try to avoid the bully, and his or her remarks. How difficult this might seem, this is still the best advice to teach your child, not to take things other people say about them too serious.
  • Tell him to use the buddy system. Talk to his or her friends and tell them that they must stand together. When he or she is surrounded by his friends, it makes it more difficult for the bully to target your child.
  • Talk to the teacher and or principle. If the situation is serious and have a serious effect on your child’s life. Then you should make an appoint with the teacher or principle to discuss the situation.



Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices, like cell phones, computers and tablets. This technique is becoming more and more prevalent, because more children are joining the Digital era as well as social media. The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyber bullying at some point have nearly doubled from 2006 to 2016. Cyber bullying can occur through SMS, text or online, through social media forums or gaming sites. Cyber bullying can include sharing private or personnel information, to belittle, shame, or embarrass another person. Some really cross the line, which might constitute to a criminal offence.

Some of the signs to look out for:

  • When your child is upset after using the internet, mobile or tablet.
  • Changes in his or her personality, becoming sad, anxious or withdrawn.
  • Unexpected changes in friendship groups.
  • Changing in sleep patterns.
  • Avoidance of school or social meetings.
  • Becoming secretive about online, mobile or tablet activities.

What can you or your child do, if he or she is the victim of cyber bullying?

  • Don’t respond if someone bullies you, the reaction that you are giving them, is usually what they are after. This will only be fuel to the flame. Most of the times if your just ignore them, they will go away or move on to another victim.
  • Do not retaliate, trying to get back at the bully will just reinforce the bully’s behaviour.
  • One of the “good” things of cyber bullying, is that there is evidence. Try to save all the evidence, so that you can show it to someone.
  • Block the bully. Use your preference or privacy settings to block the bully out of your digital life.
  • Encourage your child to bring forward the evidence so that you can evaluate the situation.
  • Should this be a serious intrusion of privacy, go to the authorities.



This is the bullying technique, where there is physical bodily harm to the body or attachments to the body. Shoving, hitting, fighting, pulling clothes or hair. Physical bullying is rarely the first form of bullying, so look out for previous signs of other bullying techniques, before it comes to this stage.

Physical bullying is a serious problem and constitutes a criminal offence. Middle school is the age where most physical bullying will take place. This is the age where most young people want to fit in or show their dominance, those who do not fit in, stand out.

Physical bullying is more likely to occur between males, although it is not unseen for females to partake in this form of bullying as well. Victims of physical bullying are usually physical smaller and weaker than the bullies.

Some of the signs to look out for:

  • Coming home from school with bruises, cuts or unexplained injuries.
  • Having damaged clothes, books, or possessions.
  • Wanting to avoid going to school or classes, or not wanting to go to school in certain ways, like taking the bus anymore.
  • Mood swings, displaying low self-esteem or withdrawn.
  • Trying to take weapons to school
  • Often showing up without items that they took to school.
  • Your child’s school work starts to decline.

What can you or your child do, if he or she is the victim of physical bullying?

  • Become an active listener. Do not just look out for the signs, talk to your child. Listen sometimes they say more in subtle statements.
  • Once you have established that it is in fact the case that your child is suffering from physical bullying. You should sit with your child and try to get a detailed written down account of all the times it happened.
  • Tell your child, that if it is at all possible, to avoid the bully.
  • Do not tell your child to retaliate, especially if the other child is physically bigger than him. This might just worsen the situation, and could make him or her, just as guilty as the other party.
  • Refer to the school’s code of conduct, make sure you know where the school stand on this point, and what your rights are. Most schools see this as a serious offence, and have stringent policies.
  • Make an appointment with the school’s guidance counselor or principle. Ask them what will be their next actions.



Emotional bullying put simply, is when one person or a group of people, single out another person or group. Causing damage to the victim’s psyche and or emotional well-being. So, what does that mean? Put simply, it means when someone is hurting someone else’s feelings constantly.

Examples are:

  • Spreading untrue or malicious rumours about someone
  • Ganging up against and individuals, not physical but with emotional breakdown.
  • Making fun of or belittling someone. Saying hurtful things about or to the person.
  • By ignoring someone on purpose and excluding them from social structures, by playing the silent treatment game or by pretending the person is non-existent.

Some of the signs to look out for:

  • Changing in sleep patterns.
  • Changing in eating patterns.
  • Mood swings
  • Becomes withdrawn
  • Do not want to go to school, public places or social gatherings like before.
  • Start feeling “ill” every so often, in the mornings.

What can you or your child do, if he or she is the victim of emotional bullying?

  • Again, speak to your child, ask questions. Try to get behind the reason for his or her behaviour.
  • Try to find out in what social capacity this is taking place. In other words, is it in the bus, at school, at lunch or aftercare.
  • If possible avoid the group or child that is doing the bullying.
  • You could also ask your child, if he/she is willing to sit down with the person that is doing the bullying, and try and explain to the other person, that what he or the group is doing is hurtful, and should stop.
  • Go and speak to the teacher and or headmaster.

Bullying is no laughing matter. To us as adults, it might seem as a small tiff between two kids. In reality this might seem like the end of the world to your kid, who is being targeted. I am sure that most of us, being grownups, will be able to assess the situation and seriousness of it. There is no need to intervene if it is just normal teen-age and human disagreement.

The easiest way still and in most situations, is to have an open conversation with your child. This is the only true way to find out the exact extent of the situation.

Please look for the signs above, there is always something like a balance in life, if he or she has the signs for one or two days, then it is just something that they are going through. But, you know your child, if something is ongoing, and he/she is not themselves for an ongoing period, then you must act. If this is serious, you MUST intervene. In another Blog I will write more about the subject, but a lot of teenage suicides do occur, because of bullying.

Have open conversations with your child, where you can express emotions and feelings to each other, on a regular basis. This will help you in situations like this.

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