Parents are often the ones to hear of a story about bullying in school, in the neighborhood, or at the park. Bullying or repeated aggression can be verbal, psychological or physical. It can take the form of name calling, teasing, hitting or picking on someone weaker. It is not a one-time aggression. It is repeatedly performed for some time. A story about bullying can involve an individual or group.
In schools, bullying is a perennial problem. The problem is prevalent because most students who are bullied do not report the act or take a long time for them to do so. Victims often feel ashamed and are afraid of retaliation because bullying often happens where there are no adults around such as in school hallways or on the way to and from school. This makes the victims feel vulnerable to retaliation.
Children who are shy or fearful, physically weaker, less skilled, less assertive or do not make friends easily are picked on by bullies, while children who bully are often stronger, more aggressive and less tempered.
When a child tells you a story about bullying, try to listen instead of just dismiss the incident as ‘part of growing up’. Make an appointment with the teacher and discuss how to deal with the situation. Work in partnership with the school to ensure your child’s safety. There should be sufficient monitoring and parents should coordinate with school authorities in addressing the problem. The school needs to implement a comprehensive anti-bullying program. Every school must have an appropriate response or a management plan that addresses the problem dealing with bullying behavior.