Bullying is defined as any persistent intentional behaviour toward another person which is intended to cause harm, fear, or distress. It includes threats, harassment, stalking, coercion, aggressive behaviour, and physical assault.
Add in social media for our adolescents, bullying behaviour can now occur outside of school hours via emails, text messages, and Facebook posts. This can be particularly hurtful and aggressive, and the harmful effects are often brought back into school the next day.
Here are some staggering statistics by Victoria University:
20% of young people experience bullying
20% experience cyber bullying
17% are bullied every week
PERPETRATORS OF BULLYING
11% of male and 7% of females bully others
88% are known to the victim
68% are older than the victim
VICTIM’S RESPONSE TO BULLYING
38% fight back
35% do nothing
21% made joke
As a parent, if your teenager is experiencing bullying, it's important for you to stay calm and be supportive. They need to know you will do anything to help them through; you should talk openly and find out more about what's going on so you both understand how to cope and respond.
Where do you start?
Have an open conversation and actively listen to how your child is feeling. Ask your child simple questions, then listen to the answers.
Make a plan and tell your child that you’ll help. Break the plan into 'actions on' and work through possible scenarios.
Make sure your child knows that the bullying isn’t their fault, they are no alone and you are there to help. They need to understand the emotions they are feeling to build their self-awareness.
Praise them for telling you. It's always hard for children to open up and ask for help in these circumstances.
Do your research. Schools should have anti-bullying policies and are required to respond to incidents of bullying.
Children must understand that bullies have a need for power and control over others and a desire to hurt people. They often lack self-control, empathy, and sensitivity.
Talk to your child's teachers, counsellor, coach or instructor, and ask for assistance. Sometimes, just letting other adults know what's going on can help you and your child feel more secure: Someone is aware of the situation and keeping an eye on things.
What not to do
What parents shouldn't do, no matter the child's age, is assume that this is normal peer stuff that will work itself out. Helping your child deal with a bully will build confidence and prevent a difficult situation from escalating.
Counselling for children and young people
The Psychology, Counselling and Wellbeing Centre is proud to offer psychological therapy to children and young people. After all, being a kid or a teenager can be hard. Our experienced psychologists see children and teenagers who are exhibiting signs of anxiety, depression and/or displaying challenging behaviours (including self-injury, eating disorders, substance use, suicidal activity or simply an inability to manage daily problems).
To learn more about our child counselling services contact us via phone 07 3891 2273 or email email@example.com