Most kids are teased at some point ~ usually in a playful, friendly manner. When teasing becomes hurtful, unkind or constant, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop. Bullying behaviours include hitting, shoving, name-calling, taunting, threatening or shunning others, spreading rumours, etc.
Here are a few signs to watch for if your child is being bullied:
- Losing belongings
- Unexplained bruises
- Seeming anxious, moody, easily upset
- Not eating or sleeping well
- Avoiding certain situations (like going to school)
What Parents and Caregivers Can Do:
- Take bullying seriously. Don’t brush it off as “kids will be kids”. Bullying can affect children’s safety and self-worth.
- Encourage your children to speak openly about their feelings.
- Listen calmly, offer support and comfort. Let them know it’s not their fault. Ask “What can I do to help?”
- Coach your child on how to react. Bullies tend to pick on kids that they can get a reaction from ~ those who get upset and take the teasing to heart, those who don’t stand up for themselves, or can be over-powered. Suggestions might include:
- Avoiding the bully
- Acting brave, walking away and ignoring the bully.
- Telling a trusted adult
- Talking about it with someone they trust.
- If your child attends preschool or daycare, let the teacher know about what is happening.
All children have a right to feel safe in their playgrounds, schools and communities.