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Bullying: It’s not a phase...it’s not just kids being kids...it’s not something anyone should live with...

August 26th, 2013

Submitted by: Alberta Safety Council

47 per cent of Canadian parents report having a child who has been a victim of bullying.

For some kids, the return to school after summer is a time filled with dread, knowing that their nemesis is waiting for them to start another year of taunting, teasing, tripping, pinching, punching, embarrassment, and humiliation.  No one deserves to be treated this way. Yet every day, a cruel act of bullying takes place in Edmonton and other towns and cities across this province.

With suicide being the third leading cause of death among teens, bullying is no longer “just a phase all kids go through.” Bullying should not be a normal part of childhood. But stopping this is difficult because, often, children don't know how to talk about it.

What You Can Do To Help Your Child

If you suspect your child is being bullied, it is important knowing which type of bullying is impacting your child so you can understand what is happening to them and what you can do to help. The four categories of bullying are: physical (hitting, kicking, tripping, damaging property such as cell phones); verbal (name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidation); social (spreading rumours, playing mean jokes to embarrass or humiliate, social exclusion); and the newest form of bullying – cyber-bullying (taunting or humiliation through social media sites such as Facebook or in chat rooms, instant message or texting, posting photos on websites). With cyber bullying, kids can now be bullied 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of where they are – even in their own bedrooms.

Helping Your Child Talk about Bullying

Talking to your child about their experiences with bullying is not going to be an easy conversation to have, but it is an important one. For help in understanding how to talk to your child about bullying, there are several excellent Canadian websites that provide information about how to initiate this conversation and more importantly, how to support your child through the process. Visit Bullying Canada (http://bullyingcanada.ca) or Erase Bullying (http://www.erasebullying.ca/index.php) to learn more.

We have to be honest about how hard it is to face a tormentor.  Sometimes it may be too difficult for your child to talk with you about the bullying, if so, encourage them to find someone they can trust such as the Kids Help Phone (http://www.kidshelpphone.ca).  It’s important that your child feels like they’re solving the problem on his or her own terms.

If the bullying is occurring at their school, call the school and ask if they have a policy on bullying and what steps they have in place to report bullying incidents.

Know Your Role

In order to change bullying behaviours, parental involvement is essential. As parents you play a pivotal role in teaching your child how to be caring, deal with angry feelings and stand up for themselves without being aggressive. You play an important role in making your child aware of others' feelings and the impact their words and actions can have on other people.

Building a Bully Free Future

Even though bullying has existed in schools for decades, that is no excuse to continue to allow children to be bullied. Researchers have gained new understanding of the dynamics of bullying and the roles of all those involved. The long-term negative outcomes on children who are bullied are too serious to ignore.

For more information, visit www.safetycouncil.ab.ca.

Bullying resources and where to get help:

bullyingcanada.ca

www.erasebullying.ca

www.kidshelpphone.ca

 

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