Educating newcomer parents to Canada about bullying

Child bullyingBullying can happen to anyone. For me, it happened at school when I first moved to Canada. It was verbal bullying – name-calling, sarcastic remarks, and taunting, mostly. I never told anyone because I didn’t know the term ‘bullying’, or how to recognize it.  

According to Bullying Canada, bullying is when someone hurts or scares someone else on purpose. It is one-sided and pointed; it can be verbal, social, or physical; it can happen face-to-face, in cyberspace, or both; and it can be a one-time incident or recurring.

Types of bullying:

Verbal Bullying includes: name-calling, negative cultural or racial references, threats, taunting, and inappropriate sexual comments.

Social Bullying includes: leaving someone out on purpose, telling people not to be friends with someone, humiliating them in public, and telling rumours about them.

Physical Bullying includes: hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, shoving, chasing, poking, and stealing someone’s belongings.

Cyber Bullying includes: using various online platforms (text, email, social media, the Internet) to tease someone, spread rumours about them, intimidate them, or put them down.

Here are some steps new Canadian parents can take to identify, prevent, and stop bullying:

  1. Talk to your kids about bullying and how to identify it.
  2. Teach them to tell someone if it’s happening to them or if they see it happen to someone else.
  3. Guide them on what to do if they’ve bullied someone and make it clear it’s not ok.
  4. Encourage your kids to deal with conflict without violence and talk things out.

Here are some signs to help you recognize if your child is bullied:

  • Your child is experiencing anxiety or withdrawal
  • Your child doesn’t want to go to school
  • Your child isn’t sleeping or eating well
  • Your child acts out aggressively
  • Your child gets upset or irritated easily
  • Your child gets frightened or intimidated by certain kids

Effects of Bullying on Children can include:

  • loneliness
  • unhappiness
  • insecurity
  • fear

Bullying can happen to children as young as five years old. It is not something to be taken lightly. It is a serious power issue that can escalate and needs to be stopped before it begins.

Help your children identify bullying and keep lines of communication open. Encourage your child to speak up if he/she is being bullied or if they know someone who is. Anyone can be a target.

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Natalia Diaz

Natalia DiazOwlkids Contributing Editor Natalia Diaz was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and writes about education and family issues. She lives in Markham, Ontario, with her family.