His behavior has changed? He's more withdrawn, has a new circle of friends and comes home with things that don't belong to him? Your child may be a bully.
Hard to admit that our child is an executioner. Obviously, we don't want him to be pushed around, but from there to terrorizing others, there's a margin! This being that we love more than anything certainly can't be a bully, right?
However, certain signs tend to prove the contrary. Lately, he's been more distant and doesn't talk to you much about what he's going through at school. He spends several hours in his room or in front of the television. He may have a little more difficulty at school. Has the family situation changed? Has he ever been bullied himself?
There are many reasons that can lead a child to use bullying, even if the lack of parental supervision or, on the contrary, “military” discipline at home is often pointed out. Most bullies are children with insecurities and this lack of self-confidence translates into violence, whether verbal, physical or virtual.
If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to talk about it with your child's teacher or with the members of the daycare service. That being said, although often perpetuated in public, bullying usually takes place away from the eyes of adults. You can also discuss it with your child, while being careful not to accuse him. For example, you could approach the subject from a general perspective, asking if he has ever witnessed bullying. Probe: how does he think the victims feel? Bullying, which the law defines as “a repetitive act intended to harm, oppress or offend a person”, can take many forms.
Even if there are some warning signs, of course sometimes you don't see anything coming. And then, one day, there is the call: the phone call from management telling us that our child has bullied another. Of course, news like this is shocking. Faced with these accusations, your first reaction will probably be denial. No, your child is not a monster! It was just a game, his actions were misinterpreted, he didn't want to hurt… But whether it's for fun, to impress his comrades or even to get revenge, girls or boys can indulge in acts without always understanding the seriousness of the consequences for the victim and we must at all costs avoid trivializing the situation.
After denial comes guilt: what did I do wrong? How could I raise aexecutioner? It's my fault. Yes, it happens that certain behavioral problems take root at home, but this is not always the case and blaming yourself too much will prevent you from looking for effective solutions to solve the problem.
After denial and guilt, it is important to act. Certainly easier said than done, you still have to manage to put your emotions aside. Of course, you love your child and your first instinct will be to protect him, but it is important not to stand up against the parent of the victim or against the representatives of the school. Calmly, you have to join forces and take stock. In order to solve a problem, it is important to identify the causes. It is therefore incumbent on us to remain open: after the anger and the punishment, it will be essential to broach the subject. You must explain to him the seriousness and the consequences of his actions or words, and, in doing so, assure him of your support: his inappropriate actions must be repressed, but not his personality!
True: Sometimes it's hard to talk to a child who doesn't want to. Still remain diplomatic in your approach. You don't solve aggressive behavior by intimidating yourself! The message you need to send him is that his behavior worries you, but your love does not change.
Invite him to put himself in his victim's shoes and, from there, apologize to him. Ask him for detailed reportsof his days at school and use positive reinforcement, encouraging each of his good moves. Of course, you will also need to set clear rules, and if you don't follow them, your child should know that there will be consequences.
Despite the climate of trust and the rules you have put in place, nothing changes? Your child's behavior is still reprehensible and the circus seems to want to start again? If this is the case, do not hesitate to call on a third party. Schools have qualified staff who can help you, advise you, and whom your child can confide in.
We often speak, and with good reason, of the long-term consequences that bullying can have on children who are victims of it, but be aware that behavioral problems can also be the lot of bullies, who have a marked propensity for delinquency.
Anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you will find free professional support at LineParents, at 1-800-361-5085.
You will also find support and valuable advice from Moi j'agis.com and the Fondation Jasmin Roy.
The movie Intimidation, by Lee Hirsh (French version of Bully). A punchy documentary dealing, as its French title suggests, with bullying in schools.
We enmay be talking more and more, but cyberaggression remains for many a UFO. Cyberaggression is when you violate the dignity of others by sending, repeatedly and over a period of time, insults, threats or hateful comments by e-mail, by instant messaging or by broadcasting on websites and social networks. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by this new form of aggression. Here are some practical tips and food for thought provided by the Quebec Ministry of Education, through its platform Moi j'agis.com,Plugged into the positive.
- Explain to him that the virtual space is public and that what is there is accessible to everyone.
- Supervise his online activities and encourage him to have positive interactions.
- Teach him to respect others in the virtual space and show him the example.
- Remind him of the importance of remaining respectful at all times and in all places, of respecting the same values in the virtual world as in the real world, of never saying or writing something that he does not dare not say or write face to face, which could harm another person.
- Explain to them that spreading rumours, divulging personal information or distributing photos or videos without having obtained the authorization of the person concerned can cause enormous harm to them because of the thousands of witnesses and trouble removing something inappropriate from the web.
- Tell him that it is important to respect the privacy of others, that it is not allowed to access their computer files, their electronic tablets, their cell phones, etc.
- Explain to him what he is exposing himself to if he continues to engage in cyberaggression (suspension or expulsion from school, police complaints, justice, etc.).