So, now we know what it is, how do we know if it is happening?
Beane (2008) suggests the following as indicators of possible bullying that can be observed by parents, guardians or teachers:
• Difficulty concentrating in class and easily distracted.
• Wanting to take a different route to school.
• Sudden loss of interest in school activities.
• A sudden drop in grades.
• Possessions often lost or damaged without explanation.
• Uses ‘victim’ body language – head down, shoulders hunched, avoids eye contact
• Prefers the company of adults at playtimes.
• Becomes overly aggressive and unreasonable.
• Talks about running away.
• Frequently asks for extra money.
• Carries protective devices.
• Sudden loss of respect for authority figures.
• Coming home from school, quieter than normal
• Not wanting to go to school (eg. faking a sore tummy or feeling sick) arrives home with unexplained scratches, bruises, damaged clothing.
• They can experience headaches, start bedwetting or have difficulty in sleeping.
Children will often not say what is happening to them directly.
As boys get older they use more avoidance strategies to try to avoid the bully, however, if this fails it can often overflow into a physical confrontation. Eg. the bully continually pokes a child in front of him in class or pulls a chair from his intended victim as they are about to sit. this may lead to the victim ‘ losing it’ and attacking the bully, regardless of consequences.
Girls will usually revert to telling a friend about what is happening to them, which often provides the extra support they need and resolves the problem.
So, now we know what to look for, what can we do?