Sonja Broschk , a clinical psychologist from Powering your Potential and our very own resident psychologist, spoke to us about this very important issue that affects most children in some way or another.
Dan Pearce, from Single Dad Laughing, made a profound statement when he said : “People who love themselves, do not hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.” This is very true for the bully. The bully becomes a bully because somewhere in his or her past (or present), he or she is being taught that he or she is unloved, is ugly or is even themselves being bullied. Thus bullying is a vicious cycle that needs to be stamped out at the root, which is very difficult because no one is going to admit to ‘bullying the bully’.
As parents, we are often unaware that our children are being bullied. here are a few signs to look out for. First and foremost I always ask if you – the parent- are listening to what your child is communicating or telling you. Sadly it may not always be verbal, but often it is the less obvious medium of non-verbal communication.
The non-verbal signs are not easy to read, they become quieter, more withdrawn and they ‘lose’ their friends (due to being isolated, a common female bullying technique), or they become aggressive. There may be a decline in academic performance, or they start avoiding school by making themselves sick. Stomach cramps being the most common ‘go-to’ illness.
So how do we equip our children with the necessary tools to deal with a bully or being bullied?
Firstly, we must ensure that our children know that they have a right to say ‘NO’ to any behaviour that is abusive or undermines them in any way. This means that having an open and honest conversation with your children about bullying and saying ‘NO’ are first on your do to list.
Secondly , give your child a safe space at home to express their feelings and believe them. Children and teenagers often feel disempowered because no one hears them or listens to them anymore.
A further step that parents could take, is to teach their children to have differing social networks, and thus the chances of being bullied also dramatically decrease as you do not ‘have’ to be friends with a specific group of people.
Lastly, parents and schools should educate their staff and scholars to identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as these go hand in hand with bullying. If these could be identified early enough then we as parents or staff could support and guide the child, before they become too depressed and perhaps consider suicide as the only way out.
Love your child, teach them to love themselves and to stand up for themselves and others- let us make a difference and make this world a better place.
Yours in empowerment , Sonja Broschk MA (Psychology)
082 788 2080
Clinical Psychologist Shaheda Khota from the Vaal Therapy Centre explains to us the various types of bullying that children are experiencing.
What are the different types of bullying?
The most well-known kind of bullying which includes pushing, shoving or physically hurting another person.
This refers to a person being spoken to in a disrespectful or aggressive manner such as being screamed at, it includes being insulted, teased or threatened.
This means discriminating or treating another person differently within a group setting. It includes embarrassing another person or disrespecting another when they not around. This form of bullying is fairly common particularly amongst adolescents.
The use of social media or the internet to intimidate, harass or threaten another person. This may include posting insults and lies about another person. E.g. Posting an embarrassing photo of someone without their permission.
Bullies are all around us and sometimes even confident people get bullied.
Shaheeda Khota (Clinical Psychologist)
The Vaal Therapy Centre 082 383 7826
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