Is your child being bullied?

2016-05-24 06:00

BULLYING is something that has always and will always be around; lurking in the shadows of every school across the globe.

There are ways, however, to identify and address bullying when and where it presents itself in order to better safeguard your child from its destructive effects.

Pinetown communication Officer Warrant officer BJ Manqele said bullying is the use of force, threat, coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others.

“In most cases bullies bully their victims because they want to impress bystanders. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, increased feeling of sadness and loneliness.

“As police, we normally go out to schools where we talk to pupils about effects of bullying and that they should report incidents of bullying to their teachers. Victims of bullying end up bringing weapons to school in order to defend themselves from the bullies. We do not encourage the carrying of weapons in schools.

“Last month a KwaDabeka pupil was shot dead outside the school by another pupil as a result of bullying and carrying of weapons to school. The suspect was arrested and is still in police custody.”

According to Liz Watson of UK-based charity ‘BeatBullying’, difference is the number one cause of bullying anywhere in the world.

“Difference is the number one reason for why people bully. During childhood, young people are beginning to discover who they are, and appearance plays a large role in that,” said Watson.

So, what can parents and teachers do to prevent bullying? The signs of bullying are not often easy to identify; especially when your child is the bully.

For a child who is being bullied, parents can easily miss the turmoil their child is going through. Some signs your child may be a victim of bullying include inexplicable injuries, the loss or destruction of their belongings and changes in their eating habits; whether they are skipping meals or binge eating when they get home.

Frequent complaining of headaches, stomach aches, nausea or faking illness is also a sign your child does not want to go to school and may be a victim of bullying.

Children who may be bullies, on the other hand, are harder to identify, but some signs parents can look out for include a deep worry in the child about their popularity, as well as frequent visits to the principal’s office or detention. If your child has extra money or new belongings, these may also be signs they are bullying someone else.

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