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Perhaps one of every parent’s worst nightmares is to find out that there child is being bullied.

The American Psychological Association defines bullying as –

“… a form of aggressive behavior where someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions. The bullied person typically has trouble defending themselves and does nothing to cause it.”

Types of bullying behavior

  • Violence – physical
  • Name calling – verbal
  • Singling someone out – relational
  • Cyber bullying – often through social media

Effects of bullying

  • Retaliation – or being bullying in response
  • Depression
  • A drop in school/academic performance
  • A host of psychological disorders and future anxieties
  • Low self esteem
  • In extreme case bullying can lead to suicide

What can parents do?

  • Inform school or nursery
  • Reassure their child
  • Give their child confidence and love
  • Report cyber bullying to social media provider

A parent who suspects their child is being bullied must take action. Talk to your child immediately and let them know you understand. Schools and charity organizations can help and give advice but if the problem persists the child may be better off at a different school. If the child is a victim of cyber bullying also make sure the school is aware and contact the social media company. Bullying online can be relentless and there is often no escape from this, as children are so attached and dependent upon their phones and screens nowadays. Try creating new a profile or making your child give up social media altogether – even if temporarily. This will be hard for them so don’t expect an immediate solution. In some cases involve the police as in many countries cyber bullying is now illegal and can be seen as harassment.

A confident child who projects high self worth and resilience is much less likely to be the victim of bullying. Self defence classes may help with this but must never encourage violence as a solution.

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