Bullying can destroy a child’s sense of self-worth, which is why it’s important to understand the types and signs of bullying .
Is your child the victim of bullying? Sometimes the signs are hard to spot. Bullying doesn’t mean that your child will necessarily come home sporting a black eye. Bullying often isn’t physical.
Four Types of Bullying
- Emotional bullying like name calling and threats, also know as verbal bullying.
- Social bullying like exclusion.
- Physical bullying such as hitting and punching.
- Cyber or online bullying using texting and social media sites like Facebook.
All types of bullying can undermine a child’s self-esteem, and in studies on adults that suffered from childhood bullying, the effects can scar for life.
Four Signs of Bullying
Sometimes the signs of bullying aren’t as obvious as we’d hope, so here are three things to be on the watch for:
- School avoidance. Your child finds excuses for not going to school, or you find he or she has been skipping classes. Rather than punish, try to get to the bottom of why they are wanting to miss school.
- Your child complains of stomach aches or headaches. This could be a sign of stress caused by the bullying. Of course if this persists, check with your doctor for any underlying medical causes.
- Changes in routines such as the friends your child used to spend time with are no longer around or your child changes his or her route to or from school. Usually these changes happen for a reason.
- Your child comes home disheveled or missing possessions. There is a good possibility that your child is a victim of physical harassment and bullying.
Three Things You Can Do Right Now
- Believe your child. Sybella Artz, a researcher in bullying behavior and author of Sex, Power and the Violent School Girl says “if your child tells you he is being bullied then it’s very important to believe that, to learn more about the situation and become a very good listener, even if your child just insinuates that something is happening.”
- Keep your own emotions in check. Artz says “it’s important not to over-emotionalize your response because children will feel responsible for, and overwhelmed by your emotions, and in turn will try to minimize the bullying. So stay on a very even keel.”
- Get support. Artz says parents must step in and “work closely with good allies, perhaps a good school counselor, principal or vice-principal who is enlightened, and begin to work in a concerted way. And stay with it until you’ve found a conclusion you can live with.”
Boys vs. Girls
Artz adds that there are some common differences between how boys bully verses girls, though all victims of bullying can suffer from all forms of bullying. But typically boys use physical bullying more often, whereas girls often are victims of verbal bullying meaning they are at the receiving end of nasty gossip and rumours. Artz explains that girls “will create factions, groups or small cliques. And they will begin to character assassinate by creating rumours and gossip and building a consensus that a particular girl is in the wrong and deserves to be beaten and have retaliation. At the very least this will show up as exclusion or shunning. A girl will come to school and suddenly find herself excluded from a group that she once found she belonged to and she won’t be told what it’s about.”
No matter what type of bullying is being carried out and no matter whether it’s being perpetrated by a boy or a girl, it’s very important to never ignore bullying. It’s not something to shrug off or think or as a childhood phase.
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.