It can be hard being a child, and even harder fitting in with peers. When you send your child to day care or school, you expect that they will be cared for in a safe and friendly environment. Bullying and harassment can occur to anybody, bullies do not necessarily target their victim based on race or gender. Encourage your child to tell you if they are being bullied. Discuss the bullying with your child’s carer or teacher. If your child has been identified as a bully, discuss strategies with the school and whether counselling is required.
Forms of bullying and harassment include:
Exclusion – deliberately leaving someone out because of dislike. Not everybody has to like everybody else, however, many situations, particularly at school, call for children to play in teams together or conduct classroom tasks in pairs or groups. Bullies can exclude a child from taking part in a group craft activity by not sharing items or ignoring creative suggestions, or in a sports game by not allowing a ball to be passed to a child.
Physical – unwanted and aggressive contact by picking a fight, hitting, kicking, punching, biting or pulling hair.
Racial – derogatory remarks or jokes about race, features or skin colour.
Sexual – derogatory remarks, jokes or name calling about gender, body shape and size, innuendo and gossip.
Threats – forcing others into actions, behaviours or discussions by threatening often with another form of bullying (i.e. physical, gossip or exclusion). Using peer pressure to force an unwilling individual to take part in a group activity (such as smoking or teasing somebody else).
Verbal – teasing and name calling, sometimes about gender or race, sometimes about appearance and often just to single out a quiet or non-conforming child.
Visual – visibly displaying offensive text or images which may be targeting an individual, gender, race, religion or other group, often in the form of graffiti, on clothing, posters or bags.