Is your child being bullied? Or being a bully?

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In recent years, the issue of bullying in schools has become a growing concern. Consider these statistics*:

  • One in seven Canadian children aged 11-16 are victims of bullying
  • 25% of children in grades 4 to 6 have been bullied
  • Bullying occurs once every 7 minutes on the playground and once every 25 minutes in the classroom
*Stopabully.ca

Numbers such as these point to bullying as an urgent problem. This is not only evident in Canada, but also in many countries all over the world. And with the advent of social media, not only do our kids have to contend with the physical, verbal, social, and emotional kinds, but with cyber bullying as well.

Regardless of race, gender or creed, bullying negatively affects children. Your child, as a newcomer, should be aware that this kind of treatment is wrong. He/She should know the steps to deal with it and who to talk to when faced with such a threat. Knowing the signs that indicate that your child may be suffering from abuse is important, since they may be too scared to tell you. Here are the usual signs that your child is being bullied (from Not in My School!guidebook):

  • Unexplained bruises and scrapes
  • Change in behavior, especially in social situations
  • Symptoms of depression, anxiety, loneliness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of specific locations such as neighbourhood store, playground, or school
  • Crying before and after school or a group sport/recreational event
  • Feeling sick without being ill
  • Thinking about suicide, running away or quitting school or a team
  • Lack of interest in social events that used to be of interest
  • Unexplained broken personal possessions, loss of money or loss of personal items
  • Sudden disinterest in using their computer or cellphone

You can also watch this video from Aboutkidshealth.ca:

On the other hand, if you suspect that your child could be a bully, watch out for these signs (also from the Not in My School! guidebook):

  • Change in usual behavior, especially in social situations
  • No lasting friendships; friends keep changing
  • Symptoms of anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness
  • Sense of entitlement; finds forgiveness difficult
  • Inappropriate, hurtful sense of humour
  • Hangs out at specific locations such as neighbourhood store, playground or school for no reason
  • Secretive; judgmental of others; blames others
  • Thinks about suicide, running away or quitting school
  • Lack of interest in social events that used to be of interest
  • Unexplained personal possessions, money, food
  • Sudden, secretive behavior when using a cellphone or computer
  • Communication from school with concerns on behavior

Watch this video from Aboutkidshealth.ca to learn more:

In addition to the tips on the videos, you should continue to maintain an active involvement in your child’s school life and know about the school’s policies on anti-bullying. Go to the Manitoba Safe and Caring Schools to learn more.

Manitoba’s active policies to counteract bullying enjoins parents, teachers, students, and the community to provide holistic support. These efforts are targeted towards building caring relationships and are based on a sense of shared responsibility for each person in the community.

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Community Resources

Tell your child about (or if you are child who needs urgent help call), the Kids Help Phone line (1-800-668-6868), a national line for Manitoba youth.

These are helpful videos from Watch Well Cast that will show you four Ways to Stop Bullying and How to Beat Cyberbullies:

Read more about Cyberbullying and how it is now considered a crime in Canada. This site has important resources for parents and teens.

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Is your child being bullied? Or being a bully?

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