Bullying in schools is a common issue all over the world that disturbs a school's environment and develops fear in students. The term “bullying” means that a person with aggression, anger and lack of interpersonal skills displaces his aggression on those who are vulnerable by criticizing, isolating, teasing, threatening, excluding or picking on them verbally, psychologically, emotionally or physically. Bullying can have negative lifelong effects on the victims. Therefore, parents should identify if their child is being bullied in school and then develop a plan to help these victims.
Bullies look out for children who are physically weaker and fail to defend themselves when confronted by children who bully them. Usually children who are not very social and shy in nature become victims of bullying. Bullies attack them because they know that the victim will not fight back. Bully victims do not usually participate in extra-curricular activities and score low in academics (Bullying in Schools). Since they are not very popular among children, they do not have a support network. For example, bullies may take advantage of this situation by attacking them, bossing around and often teasing victims by snatching their lunch or forcing them to do their homework (Lane and Tattum, pp 22).
Victims of bullying
Victims of bullying can be identified by their actions and behaviors. They can be insecure, cautious, and anxious, have low self-esteem and do not defend themselves when bullied by other children. Since they do not have many friends, they are usually close to their parents. Victims become afraid of school and feel happy at home. They become depressed, lose self-esteem and these consequences can be life long. Sometimes the victims confide in their parents or teachers at school and discuss their problems, while others may deny being bullied. Such children are afraid that others will make fun of them or the bully will threaten them. If parents suspect that their child is being bullied, they must look out for signs such as cuts and bruises that the child fails to explain, damaged stationary or torn clothes, loss of belongings on a regular basis and fear of school. The child may also develop aggressiveness, lose appetite, tease younger siblings and show poor performance in academics (Bullying: How to Help the Victim)
Once parents have identified that their child is being bullied in school, they must encourage him to talk about it. Parents can bring up the issue while engaged in any activity and try again later while doing house work, playing a game, after story time or at bed time. For example, It is important to be affectionate and show concern by saying, “I care for you and I get really worried when you do not eat properly or when you are so quiet.” Parents may encourage the child by adding, “I want you to tell me what is bothering you. I am sure I can help.” This conversation may encourage the child to confide in his parents and accept that he is being bullied in school.
Once parents are sure that their child is bullied in school, they must take notice of it and discuss this with the teachers and Principal of the school. Schools usually cooperate with the parents and deal with this issue because they want the school to be a safe place for students. If the school does not respond, the parents should call the district superintendent. The state's department of education can also be contacted for further assistance. In case of injury or threat, parents must remove the victim from school until the issue is resolved. In serious cases of bullying, parents can consider home-schooling, placing the victim in private school or they can request the school district to place the child in another school.
Being bullied develops fear in the child when he feels that no one will listen and help him out. His self-esteem is destroyed and these negative consequences may last forever. It is important to listen to the child carefully and analyze the situation. For example, hugging or holding the child after he has discussed his problems with the parents is very important for successful interaction with the child. The hug gives the feeling of support and the child feels secure. It is important to support the child by telling him that he was heard and the bullies will be dealt with. When the child shares his bullying secrets, parents should pretend that it is a serious problem and devise a plan with the child to deal with it together. Parents also need to explain to the child that the plan might take time to work. It is important to share the issue with school teachers as well. The children should be comforted that a lot of children are bullied and if they see any such behavior, it should be reported.
On the increase
Bullying in schools is a general problem which seems to be on the increase. Bullies seek for victims who are physically weaker, shy and unable to defend themselves. Victims of bullying develop fear of school, become depressed, isolated and suffer from low self-esteem. These negative effects of bullying can last forever. Parents should look out for possible signs in children and once victims of bullying are identified, they must be heard and supported.
"Bullying in Schools." School bullies and bullying at school. 30 September, 2009. <http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/school.htm>.
"Bullying: How to help the victim." AboutKidsHealth Health A-Z Bullying How to Help the Victim. 21 June, 2004.30 September, 2009. <http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/HealthAZ/Bullying-How-to-Help-the-Victim.aspx?articleID=8406&categoryID=AZ4a>.
Tattum, Delwyn P. and Lane, David A. Bullying in schools. Trentham Books, 1989
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