Help Stamp Out Bullying!

Parents, teachers, students, children – together, we can help stamp out bullying in our schools!

Bullying can be easily identified according to the following definition. It is:

  • repeated;
  • negative;
  • ill-intentioned behaviour.

It may be instigated by one child, or sometimes more, and is usually directed against a child who has difficulty defending himself or herself (Olweus, 2004).

stamp out bullying

Bullying has a negative impact and causes stress not just for the victim, but also for the perpetrator, and of course their parents and families.

According to research, bullying behaviour is influenced by multiple relationships with peers, families, teachers, neighbours, and interactions with societal influences (eg media, technology etc), rather than just the characteristics of an individual.

Ryoo, Wang, and Swearer (2014) found that where bullying is prevalent, children can actually take on different roles in the bullying cycle, across school years. This means that children can – and do – not just see bullying, or experience being bullied themselves, but can also become a bully, across different situations and over time.

Is My Child Being Bullied?

If you are worried that your child is being bullied, you may have noticed that they may not actually come straight out and tell you. However, they may very well be exhibiting the following signs:

  • Becoming cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn and shy.
  • Seeming anxious, insecure, unhappy, and with low self-esteem.
  • May seem depressed and even engage in suicidal ideation more often compared to other children their age.
  • Relate better to adults than to other children in their age group.
  • Boys being bullied may be physically smaller/weaker than their peers.

Of maybe you are concerned that your child is the bully?

Bullies may demonstrate:

  • Get their own way, and a strong desire to dominate and subdue other children.
  • A short temper, and impulsivity.
  • Defiance and aggressive tendencies toward adults, including parents and teachers.
  • Little empathy for other children who are victimised.
  • In boys, bullies tend to be physically larger/stronger than their peers.

As a parent, teacher, school, and society, we are working to stamp out bullying for many reasons – chiefly because involvement in bullying (whether the bully or the bullied) creates a greater risk for a child to suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Self harm
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Physical injury
  • Substance abuse
  • Negative attitudes toward school
  • Absenteeism
  • Poor perceptions of school safety
  • Aggression and
  • Delinquency (Berkowitz & Benbenishty, 2012).

Bullying stems from complex interactions between individuals and the contexts in which they function – both proximal (family, peers, school climate) and distal (societal, cultural influences).  Accordingly, multiple systems must be targeted in order for bullying prevention and intervention to be successful.

As parents and teachers, we can help stamp out bullying by consciously working to ensure a school/home environment that:

  • Ensures warmth, positive interest, and involvement from adults;
  • Sets firm limits on unacceptable behaviour;
  • Is consistent with rules and consequences, both of which are clear to the child;
  • Has adults as positive role models.

A psychologist can help families by educating members about aspects of bullying, guiding discussions around expressing feelings, increasing self confidence, opening conversations within the family, interacting with the school, helping to create goals to work toward, and providing parenting tips to reduce stress.

Cassandra Gist Psychologist BrisbaneAuthor: Cassandra Gist, BPsych (Hons), MPsych, MAPS.

Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist has a Masters in Health Psychology, and is able to treat clients aged from two years old right through to adulthood. She is experienced in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist, try Online Booking – Loganholme or Online Booking – Mt Gravatt. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129, or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.

References:

  • Berkowitz, R., & Benbenishty, R. (2012).  Perceptions of teachers’ support, safety, and absence from school because of fear among victims, bullies, and bully-victims. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82,67-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.2011.01132.x
  • Olweus, D. (2004).  Bullying at school: Prevalence estimation, a useful evaluation design, and a new national initiative in Norway. Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry Occasional Papers, 23, 5-17.