Explaining bullying to children

Some parents don’t know where to start to protect their children from bullying and violence. There are others who do not know if their children are victims, witnesses or even the perpetrators of these harmful behaviors. We must be clear about some basic aspects to be able to explain these issues to our children.

What is bullying?
Bullying can generally be identified through three characteristics: intention, repetition, and power. A stalker intends to cause pain, either through physical harm or hurtful words or behavior, and does so repeatedly. Boys are more likely to be victims of physical bullying, while girls are often bullied.
More than an isolated incident, bullying is a pattern of behavior. Children who bully others tend to have a higher social status or a position of power, in the case of children who are older or stronger or considered “popular”.

Why should I intervene if my child is bullied?
Bullying can have long-lasting and damaging consequences for children. In addition to physical effects, bullying can lead to emotional and mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, that can lead to substance abuse or lower performance in school. Unlike in-person bullying, cyberbullying can reach the victim anywhere and at any time. It can cause serious damage, as it can affect many people very quickly and leave a permanent mark online for everyone involved.

Your child has the right to live in a safe and nurturing school environment in which her dignity is respected. The Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes that all children have the right to an education and to be protected against all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse.
The first thing we should talk to our children about is prevention, we should not wait until they are going through this situation for us to talk about it.

  1. Explain what bullying is. When you know what it is, your child will be able to identify it more easily, whether it is happening to them or to someone else.
  2. Talk openly and often. The more you talk to your child about it, the more comfortable he will feel telling you if he has been a witness or a victim. Ask her daily about school and her online activity, take an interest in her classes and activities but also in her feelings.
  3. Teach him to be a positive example to others. There are three parties to harassment: the victim, the perpetrator, and the witness. Even if a child is not a victim of bullying, he can prevent it from happening by being inclusive and behaving in a respectful and kind way with her classmates. If you witness a case of bullying, you can advocate for the victim, offer help, and / or challenge the behavior.
  4. Help your child to trust himself. Encourage your child to sign up for classes or participate in the community activities that they enjoy the most. This will help you gain self-confidence and make a group of friends with common interests.

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