Bullying is a major problem in schools today. In fact, it is a way of life that permeates all sectors of society but for the purpose of this blog I will focus on bullying in schools.
Be aware of any changes in the behaviour of your children. Have their school grades changed? Do they want to avoid school? Is there a pattern of avoidance?
All of these signs may indicate that your child is being bullied. Ask your child and more often than not they will deny that there is anything untoward going on at school. Be vigilant though and don’t take their word for it. If you are still not convinced, contact the school and let them know your concerns. They might be able to assist by keeping an eye on what your child is doing at school, what they are doing at lunch time and who they are spending time with.
Many young children and teenagers talk to me about their experiences of bullying. Many admit that they have been bullied for a considerable length of time before doing anything about it. Others never do anything about it and suffer in silence.
I was amazed at the amount of shame the victims of bullies feel. As adults, we are outraged and can clearly see that the bully is at fault. A young person feels that they are to blame and that their is something wrong with them for being picked on. As if they must be defective and a loser to be singled out by bullies.
One teenager told me how he felt that his parents would reject him and no longer love him if they knew he was being bullied.
This seems preposterous to an adult but it is a real fear for a child/teenager.
They assume that they are the only ones being bullied and do their best to deal with it alone.
The change comes when they finally tell someone and the bullies get dealt with. Bullies often have issues themselves, such as an unhappy home life, and they project this misery onto other children in an attempt to feel better about themselves. All that negative energy that they have to store up at home has to come out somewhere and many vulnerable children at school become ideal targets.
Bullies tend to look for softer, quiet kids. The ones that probably won’t make a fuss. Bullies are manipulative and extremely clever. Often they have learned how to protect themselves from emotional abuse or neglect at home and this often allows them to be one step ahead of the more well balanced children.
Happy kids from stable home environments don’t feel the need to treat other children in a mean and nasty manner. It just doesn’t occur to them. Of course, no children are perfect and there will be occasions where a hurtful remark will be made or an error in judgement will occur that upsets another child. In the main though, when delving into a bullies’ home life – dysfunction will exist on some level.
Bullies need to be dealt with firmly as their treatment of others can leave a life long legacy of hurt and pain to those that fall victim to their horrid ways.
More Information and Resources:
NSPCC – info on bullying in the UK
For a bit of fun..try Mandy’s iphone app: Life Wisdom https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/life-wisdom/id392898772?mt=8 More on Mandy: https://www.mandyjane-lifedesign.com The author of this blog lives in Surrey, UK and offers counselling to couples and individuals. All names have been changed to protect the identity of clients. Personal client stories shared in this blog have been published with prior permission from the relevant clients.