It is not fun being bullied at school. Sometimes the person who is actually initiating the bullying is not aware of their extent of their bullying onto another. However in saying that, school kids are cruel. Facing the music and confronting the attacker privately is a start - although a bold and brave move. If your child is with a trusted friend and/or an authority figure - this will help. It is also about notifying the school.
One of our kids were bullied at school. We taught her to stand up to the bully and confront them. When they said something nasty we taught her to say it back. Bullies like people that play a victim role or walk away. We also taught her the difference between when to do something about it or to ignore it. Sometimes bullies 'probe' for a reaction to find a weak spot. Also letting the school know about the situation is good.
Yes, way to go ! When my little girl reported bullying to me, I approached the office and asked to see the headmaster - he wasn't there at the time and so I left a message with the secretary. I said that I had not told my husband yet, as I knew he would want to deal with the parents of the bully personally, I said that I thought it best to allow the headmaster to fix the situation BUT that I was meeting my husband for lunch and would, therefore, require an answer to the solution by lunchtime. I received a phone call from the headmaster by 10 am. The older girl (aged 9) had been bullying my (prep) kid. She had been warned, her parents notified. I told the headmaster that I was very relieved that he had sorted the problem so super efficiently. That I would not say anything to my husband at lunch, as he was quite a hot tempered person and that I didn't want any "fisticuffs" to take place at the school front door.
Wasn't I lucky to encounter such a "pro active" headmaster.
p.s. not only was there a massive age difference between the bully and my prep child, but my child was very much undersized for her age.
If it was my child I would definitely let the school teacher of both child know. I would also try to speak to the child's parents. Sometimes this will help, but that will depend upon the parents! If it still continues I would then make an appointment to see the school principal. School's have an obligation to deal with these issues appropriately if they don't then contact the Department of Education. As tempting as it may be you should never approach the other child to tell them off or even talk about it with them. This is not on and it is not your place, talk to the school not the other child otherwise you are being the bully.
Bullying is never, ever acceptable. It's emotional and psychological abuse that often escalates into physical threats and even violence. These days we frequently hear in the media of tragic suicides caused by online bullying, but old-fashioned school yard bullying can be just as damaging as this more modern trend. The results can be lifelong and can include loss of confidence, self-esteem, trust and depression: afflictions that any loving parent wouldn't want their child to suffer. Therefore, if your child complains to you about being a target, act immediately, even if it means changing your child's school or switching to home-schooling.
Many years ago, as the quiet, shy child of rather conservative parents I was the recipient of really nasty bullies, and the result was devastating for me. In retrospect I've come to see that the bullies who were making my life hell were fat, ugly and stupid (and definitely very unhappy) girls from extremely dysfunctional families, but as a child you don't understand that...all you know is that you're suffering and terrified to go to school as you don't know what is going to happen. If parents don't promptly act to help their children, there is also the danger that they can lose their trust.
Personally I think it's complete c**p when parents claim that bullying is harmless and kids need to endure it to toughen them up. While this may be the case when the so-called bullying isn't vicious (just a bit of good-natured ribbing) and a child is confident, gregarious and out-spoken, it definitely isn't true for really nasty bullying and more shyer, sensitive and gentle children. From my observation, it's often the gentler, sensitive and more introspective types of kids who become bully magnets. In my opinion these are positive qualities, so why should such a child be expected to modify their behaviour to appease kids who are gross and antisocial?
In childhood, our perception of self and our capability to create trusting and loving relationships with others are in their formative stage. If we're damaged emotionally through bullying or any other abuse or emotional trauma this capacity can be damaged. To use an analogy, kids a bit like tender plant seedlings which need lots of care and nourishment to reach their full potential. Therefore, they need to be in nurturing, loving environments, not just at home but also at school and if they're not receiving this then you really need to act quickly.
In a nutshell, with bullying, your child's self-esteem and happiness are at stake so listen carefully and act promptly. If you don't think your child's school is going to respond effectively, consider the various positive alternatives that are available. Perhaps switch to another school (Steiner and Montessori schools are very good, if you can afford it, as they really nurture children as individuals) or even consider home-schooling. If you're not particularly academic there are heaps of good programs (some religious based and some sectarian) available, or you can even create your own if you feel confident. At the same time, ensure your child is getting good, uplifting company and if you feel they've been traumatised by the bullying they experienced, perhaps a few sessions with a children's councillor may help them to come up with strategies to deal with such situations if they arise later in life. As adults, we wouldn't tolerate being around negative abusive people so why should our kids?
Carolyn thanks for your honest response. I wholeheartedly agree that parents should act promptly if and when their children are bullied or bully others. All schools should have policies and processes in place to stop bullies in their tracks and to help them realise the potentially damaging effects their behaviour can have on others.