The topic of bullying stirs up a lot of emotions, especially when our children are affected. We know that bullying can have long-term impacts on children, but there are effective ways to support them so that they can overcome this ordeal with their heads held high.
Bullying is repeated, aggressive behaviour, usually deliberate, intended to cause distress, pain or fear to another person, either directly or indirectly. This behaviour puts the person who initiates it in a position of dominance. It can occur in many contexts, including at school, at work, online or in everyday life.
Verbal: insults, ridicule, hurtful comments, threats or spreading rumours to humiliate or denigrate the target of bullying.
Social: isolation, exclusion or manipulation of social relationships in order to disrupt the target person's interactions with others.
Physical: use of physical force to injure, threaten or intimidate someone, whether by hitting, shoving or other acts of physical violence.
Material: damage, destruction or theft of a person's property.
Sexual: harassment of a sexual nature, which may include inappropriate comments, unwanted advances, inappropriate gestures or sexual assault.
It's important to distinguish between teasing and bullying. Teasing generally happens between two people who get along well, and the jokes go both ways. This type of interaction has no harmful effects if the words remain friendly. Bullying, on the other hand, is hostile behaviour directed at an individual, and includes a power relationship that causes them to suffer.
Given the far-reaching effects bullying can have on young people, it's essential to intervene quickly, but not impulsively. By demonstrating calm and confidence, you'll help your child feel secure.
Children who bully also need support to help them become aware of their behaviour and change it. The article "L’intimidation… On en parle, mais que faire?" from the Nanny Secours team suggests ways to help bullying children change their social behaviour.
Bullying can have different effects on different people. Here are the most common:
If you observe these behaviours, don't hesitate to discuss them with your child, and then offer your support. If need be, call on professionals who are equipped to support your child's well-being.
Knowing that words have an impact on a person's state of mind, you may have noticed that the term "victim," often associated with helplessness, has not been used in this text. If your child is being bullied, make sure you give them back all the power they have by actively involving them in the process of resolving the situation.
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