Bullying certainly isn’t a new concept; it’s an issue that has stemmed from the beginning of time and appears in many different forms, whether that’s physical, verbal, cyber etc.
Verbal bullying for a child can consist of name-calling, which can prove to be relentless in a nursery /school setting. This type of bullying can often go un-noticed as bullies will rarely operate in front of a responsible adult. While it can be easy to simply tell the child to ‘ignore it’, verbal bullying can have serious consequences that leave deep emotional scars.
Relational aggression is a far more sneaky type of bullying that will almost always go un-noticed. In actual fact relational aggression is far more common in groups of girls. Relational bullying is where the bully will seek to hurt and sabotage their peer’s social standing. The bully would spread rumours and manipulate situations often resulting in loss of confidence and ostracizing a child from a group.
Modern-day bullies can be savvy and clever about hiding their actions. Being a ‘bully’ does not necessarily mean the child is walking around fists poised, but alike a majority of others, is aware that words can hurt more anyway.
No one is immune to bullying, Children who are only just beginning to find their way in the world, whether that’s at home or in the playground can be easily susceptible to bullying.
Teach your child how to recognize bullying. You can do this by sharing past experience of being bullied. Praise your child if he/she is brave enough to share stories with you, telling an adult can be hard and intimidating.
One of the main reasons behind why children bully is jealousy. If your child is being targeted because of money or gadgets, simply remove the bait or encourage your child to ‘buddy up’ and stick with his/ friends.
Reassure your child. Staying positive and calm is important for the victim in these situations, especially in a school environment. At times the best form of defence can be indifference. Encourage your child to walk away from the situation, while leaving in an assertive way. Examples of this could be saying something neutral, using a normal tone of voice like ‘See you later, have a nice day!’
Sometimes you will need to resort to contacting the nursery/ school. As a parent, you never really want to make a complaint about someone else’s child, but sometimes the involvement of a responsible adult will be the only remedy to the situation.
Bullying, in any form is never an easy experience for the child or for the parent. By far the most important thing you can do to help your child is to stay calm and make sure to express unconditional support and love.