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Is My Child A Bully?

In the UK alone approximately sixteen children a year commit suicide because of the trauma they endure due to bullying. The offending children who have tirelessly bullied their victims know exactly what they are doing but it seems that sometimes, the people in authority such as school teachers claim they did not know the bullying was taking place. Friends of the bullies also probably knew what was happening. Before a child has to have medical treatment or dies, people need to speak up if they suspect such bullying.

If you are concerned that your own child could be bullying another then the following is a list of signs to look out for. To be clear, YOU ARE A BULLY IF YOU DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Name calling
  • Fabricate stories to get them in trouble
  • You deliberately try and may succeed in taking their friends away and isolating them
  • You tell or encourage other people not to be friends with them
  • You physically hurt them including hitting, kicking, pushing or tripping them up
  • You spit at them
  • You make unkind or derogatory remarks about their looks or appearance
  • You make unkind or derogatory remarks about their culture, religion, race or colour
  • You make unkind or derogatory remarks about their medical condition or disability
  • You damage their property
  • You tell them you cannot spend time with them because you are busy but then go and enjoy yourself with other people in front of them
  • You make jokes about them even though you can see they are upset and traumatised
  • You play around with them when you know they are not feeling comfortable with it and you know they want you to stop
  • If you are watching the bullying and just going along with the crowd without saying something to a teacher or responsible adult
  • You leave them out when you are choosing a games team to be deliberately unkind
  • You take their belongings away by force, threats or steal their property and/or demand money from them
  • You hide their belongings
  • You send them abusive texts or harass them with silent calls
  • You threaten them
  • You spread rumours about them
  • You make comments about them ‘fancying’ other people

It is understandable that your first reactions might be shock and disbelief if your child is accused of bullying but before you dismiss the notion entirely take a breath and think. Be willing to speak with the teachers at the school, be open and willing to work with the teachers as you need to take what they are saying very seriously with the aim of finding solutions to the problems. The teachers and staff should be aware that sometimes children are falsely accused of bullying and an in-depth investigation should reveal this.

There are various sanctions that could be made against your child depending on the result of the investigation. It could be a detention, a warning, temporary exclusion or for a one-off incident where your child has violently harmed another then this could mean they are expelled.

If it has been revealed that your child has been violent, been abusive by phone or made demands for money and he or she is over the age of criminal responsibility then the parents of the victim would usually be advised to make a complaint to the police.

Parents of a bullied child do not complain to the school straight away in most cases, so there is usually a long history of abuse and unhappiness felt. In some cases the victim has to take time off school because of fear and will sometimes need to see a doctor because of the stress and trauma they feel.

If you are worried your child might be a bully you can ask the school for a copy of the bullying policy so that you can read it with your child.

By Eirian Hallinan

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