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My daughter is being bullied at school.  She’s only been in “big school” for about 2 weeks and there’s already a girl in her class that is making her feel like she’s doesn’t belong. Sadly, this isn’t RuPaul’s Drag Race, and my 4 year old doesn’t have the ability of speech to throw shade.  My little girl who, when asked what she did when her bully was yelling at her, said, “I told her that I just wanted to relax.  That’s all I want, mommy, is to relax.” My, sweet, little California girl.

But all of us have either been bullies, been bystanders, or been a victim of bullying.  Yet, if everyone’s life has been touched by bullying, why are most of us (including myself) like a deer in headlights when faced with the situation?

According to the Royal College of Psychiatry, bullying can range from physical attacks, to isolating the victim, to spreading nasty rumours about the victim. Additionally, no single reason tells us why some children become bullies or why some children become victims. However, there are some common threads in bully/victim dynamics.  For example, children who are aggressive are more likely to become bullies. They are more likely to pick on children who appear different in some way – those who are quiet, shy, alone at playtime (like my surfer girl, daughter), and/or those that are unable to defend themselves. Children who have an illness or disability or who are obese are also more likely to be bullied.

The Side-Effects of Bullying

Whilst suicide has been in the international news, this is not as common as these other byproducts of bullying.  Some of the things to look for when your child is being bullied:

  • Your child may tell you that they are feeling sad and lonely;
  • Your child may start to lack confidence and feel bad about themselves;
  • Your child may become depressed;
  • They may complain of various physical symptoms e.g. headaches, stomach aches; and
  • They may start to worry about and try to avoid going to school altogether.

V, luckily, knows that she can speak to me about the situation and tomorrow, my husband and I have a meeting with the principal, and teacher about the situation and I can honestly tell you that if the little girl’s parents aren’t there I don’t see how much help this will do.  I don’t understand this course of action.  My child is the one who’s being isolated and taunted.  My child is the one who, at only 2 week’s in, is trying her hardest to stay home sick from school.

I don’t understand a course of action that puts the onus on the victim to not be victimised.  What was the reason for going through all the rigmarole of printing out and handing us parents that nice little leaflet about how the school has a strict anti-bullying policy?  All the while, deciding to gaslight parents that see, with their own eyes, their child being bullied. I suspect that like so much in life, those are just nice buzz-phrases to help seem like they are in attendance at the modernity party, when in fact, they’re still stuck someplace in the past.

But on the eve of our meeting, all I can do is hope that this will be dealt with appropriately.

I’d love to hear how you’ve dealt with this issue.  Please let me know in the comments.

Were you bullied in school?  How did you handle it?  How are you handling it with your children?

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