Issue 105

05 Grassroots with passion



While many parents may assume that bullying in schools is a problem that occurs in primary or secondary school, the fact is that schools and parents should take steps to prevent and stop bullying in schools as early as kindergarten and early primary school. By teaching children about what bullying is and the facts about how and why it is harmful, teachers and parents can set important foundations to stop bullying behaviour before it starts.

Mr. C. Joshi. PB.PBS.CMSAC Consultant Counsellor

What is Bullying? Bullying is defined as aggressive behaviour that is intentional. It can be physical (such as pushing or hitting) or verbal (such as hurting someone with insults or malicious gossip). In younger children, bullying can also frequently include exclusion (a child telling another she doesn’t want to play with her and urging others to join her in excluding the victim of the bullying behaviour, for instance). Bullying can affect children of any age, from kindergarten and primary school years to secondary school. Studies show that as many as 15 to 20% of kids are bullied "sometimes or more often," and 15 to 20% of kids admit to bullying others with some frequency, according to empirical research studies. Bullying in Primary School While problems such as cyberbullying may be less prevalent in primary school, bullying can still occur among young children. While younger children are much less likely to have access to social networking sites or cell phones to exchange hurtful messages, they can nevertheless encounter hurtful behaviour on the playground or in classes. Bullying among younger kids can take the form of ostracism, as in when a group of kids may agree not to include a classmate in their games. Some other ways younger children bully may include verbal aggression, such

as name-calling or physical aggression such as shoving or hitting. Children who are targeted by bullies often include those who have a disability or children who are not adept at making friends and have little social support. Recent research has shown that obesity is also a significant risk factor for being a victim of bullies.

What Parents Can Do to Prevent and Stop Bullying

Stay connected with your child. The more you know about their children’s friends and the details about interactions with classmates and peers, the more likely you are able to spot any changes in your child’s social interactions. Talk with your child every day about specifics at school and extracurricular activities such as who she had lunch with or what the best or worst part of her day was. This is also an important way to establish good communication with your child so that they know that you are someone they can go to when there is a problem. Explain what bullying is to your child. Young children understand that hitting or pushing another child is wrong (that’s why even young bullies will try to be aggressive toward their victims when teachers or other adults aren’t looking). But you can also explain that other forms of bullying, such as excluding or ignoring someone, can also be hurtful.

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