Bullying: becoming involved in order to prevent violence
Bullying has been more prevalent in the media in recent years, and the emphasis on it tends to fluctuate as anniversaries of traumatic events or news of new bullying incidents surfaces. If you notice changes in your child’s desire and motivation to go to school, bullying can be one of the factors involved. Some of the changes can be: school avoidance, isolation, lower performance, worrying or anger the night before or the morning of, sleep or appetite disruption. Check in with your child often, and pay attention for any mentioning of irritation or fear associated with a certain group or person. Take it serious; ask more questions, attempt to problem solve around it. Notice any sense of hopelessness or lack of control in the situation. If there’s any direct mentioning of feeling in fear, being ‘bossed around’, name calling, verbal or physical threats, take action. Bullying in schools has changed significantly in the last decades, as it can now involve serious harm to others or self. It is most important that your child sees someone taking action at the mere mentioning of bullying. Contact the school, check the policy, request a meeting, create change if change is needed. Bullying is not an individual problem; it takes a village to raise a child and it takes the family, the neighborhood and the school to address bullying. The best way to eradicate bullying is by having active bystanders: classmates, staff, parents, communities. Take a stand and be an active bystander for your child.