Bullying or Harassment
Bullying typically consists of behaviors directed against a target or group of targets. The actions must be intentional, repeated and display an imbalance of power. Direct bullying includes physical harm or threats, insults, taunts, name-calling and intentional exclusion. Forms of indirect bullying include rumors or lies about a child, writing hurtful graffiti, and encouraging others to exclude a child. Boys usually engage in direct forms of bullying behaviors while girls usually participate in indirect forms of bullying.
Worldwide research on bullying has demonstrated that there is a higher incidence of bullying among boys, that boys who act as bullies are often the oldest members of their peer groups, and that boys engage in direct bullying four times as often as girls.
Students who act like bullies seem to have a need to feel in control. They appear to enjoy bringing injury and suffering to others, seem to have little concern for their targets and often defend their actions by saying that their targets caused the bullying in some way. Students who regularly display bullying behaviors are generally defiant toward adults and are prone to break school rules.
Bullying is a problem that can affect the academic and social progress of the bully and the target. The signs can be observed at home as well as at school. In order to assist a child that might be a target, parents need to recognize warning signs.
Reluctance to attend school activities
Unexplained drop in academic performance
Reluctance to walk to or from school
Reluctance to discuss school
Headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplainable illnesses
Changes in sleep patterns
Sad or depressed demeanor
Loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed
Parents of targets can assist their children by:
Encouraging their child to tell an adult
Explaining the difference between tattling and telling
Encouraging a "buddy" system if a child walks to and/or from school
Turning off a TV program (or video game) that reinforces the idea of aggression as a way to deal with conflict
Asking the school for assistance