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Bullying...what is your definition?


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#26 mumto3princesses

Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:39 AM

Oh JRA, your poor DS.

The hiting and the kicking though if it's always only your DS (or even only a couple of kids) could be classed as bullying.

I do think there is a difference between bullying and harrassment and just plain mean or b!tchy behaviour.

If there is one child and he/she is continuously either hitting or saying things to hurt another child then I think yes that's bullying. Even when they are young there can be intent to hurt there. The victim themselves when they are young can't always see what it is though. When they are told things over and over again they start to believe it.

DD1 has had 2 experiences with bullying in primary school and other instances of mean behaviour towards her.

1st child started in Year 1. Laughed at her work, saying it was wrong or ugly or stupid. Said the same about thing DD1 many many times every day. She also said she was fat many times every day. (btw she was actually underweight and it got so bad that we were seriously concerned for quite a while) This went on all year and was classed as bullying.

2nd child started in Year 3. Again, every day many many comments. Ugly, stupid, fat (still a thin girl), dumb and many many other things. Took friends away from her. She went and made new friends and she took those away too. DD1 spent many lunch times alone. Every time 2nd child saw her talking to someone she managed to get that child to play with her. This went on and on and on for YEARS. She eventually made some friends that 2nd child wasn't able to take away. The school listened to the point where they would do general no bullying talks quite often and DD1 was put in a seperate class from 2nd child in Year 4, 5 and 6. This stopped the comments during class and about class work at least. DD1 was told to try and stay away from 2nd child but 2nd child would seek her out. The teachers did know what this child was doing but nothing was ever really done about it. 2nd child tried to get DD1 into trouble many times saying she had stolen something of hers (even though it was the other way around) or pushed her (when 2nd child would actually deliberately "accidentally" bump into DD1). DD1 learn't to stick up for herself and we worked hard on her self esteme. Which worked well but did cause the 2nd child to step up the bullying when she saw that DD1 was looking happy. But eventually it did taper off as she wasn't getting a response from DD1. Didn't stop her from trying but DD1 was able to see her for what she was. Even told her that she felt sorry for her and that she must have a really sad life. I was glad that they didn't go to the same High School though.

Now the primary school has a zero tolerance to bullying. They may call something bullying at times but I think that might be because it gets the childs attention more. Sometimes it might be bullying type behaviour but hasn't been ongoing. But that is because the school wont let it be ongoing if they have been made aware of it. Other times it might be harrassment or just plain mean behaviour towards another child which is also equally not tolerated at our school.

I forget what it is called but there is something they do at our school where they get the victim and the "bully/mean child" together with the principal and the victim tells the other child how what they did made them feel etc. Basically they make the other child realise how what they did directly hurt the other child. The incident with DD2 not long ago resulted in the other child appologising to DD2 and promising she will never do anything like that ever again. The child is always made to apologise and I have heard of one child who had to write a letter to the child he bullied. There are also various punishments which vary according to whatever happened too. Which can be just a case of ok, we are watching you now and will be having a meeting with your mum/dad or it could be banning them from playing sport that week or going on the school camp or being suspended. (Although suspension wont happen until they have been officially warned umm I think 2 times, 3 times and you are suspended)

Edited by mumto3princesses, 25 April 2012 - 10:40 AM.


#27 JRA

Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:49 AM

QUOTE
The hiting and the kicking though if it's always only your DS (or even only a couple of kids) could be classed as bullying.


The first child is not just doing it to DS, although it seems DS gets a fair bit of it. DS's teacher rang DH at the end of the day yesterday to say that DS and a few others had been kicked a bit yesterday when said child lost it (and was sent home), and the teacher was impressed how well DS dealt with it, he just  walked away. I feel so much for the child's parents.

Our school does the whole restorative justice thing, DS has had two sessions I think with the other child. To say it has left him and us a bit cold is an understatement. I don't know if the school is simply poor at managing it or not.

The other day when it was a group who were being nasty, I think the discussions the school had with the group worked well, with all expect the ring leader.




#28 Gangnam Style

Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:57 AM

What does "sustained" or "habitual" mean?

More than one occassion? Two? Three? Four?

Also, on a similar subject, if your child is physically assaulted at school, is it approriate to report the assault to police?




#29 lamarque

Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:00 AM

I'll intervene when my normally happy to go to school kids suddenly say they hope 'xyz' isn't at school today or they hope it rains so they won't see them in the playground.

#30 mumto3princesses

Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:09 AM

Yeah, thats it restorative justice. Sounds like your DS delt with the hitting thing really well. And yeah, it doesn't sound like bullying to me really.

There was a similar situation with a child in DD3's class in Kindergarten. DD3 came home early in the year and told me they have an emergency plan for when X is naughty. I was like huh? Turns out it was a plan just in case he lost it too badly before the teacher realised. DD3 never coped any of the hitting and I don't think any of the other boys would have let him get anywhere near her even if he tried LOL. They used to actually crowd her to the point where the teacher would have to tell them to move back and would fight over who said near or behind or in front of her when they sat on the floor in class LOL. Anyway, if he started hitting they had to follow the plan and an aid would take him to the office and then they would continue with what they were doing.

But, yeah I really felt for the parents. He would loose it and lash out and kick or hit and even threw a chair. It wasn't bullying though and he didn't mean it. He was sent home early a lot and the teacher could see when he was starting to loose it before it happened too bad in front of the other kids.

#31 opethmum

Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:23 AM

I would consider bullying in this way.

Any act whether it be physical, verbal, psychological that is intent on creating an imbalance of power and making a party subject to cruel, malicious, defamatory treatment for personal gain, amusement etc. The bullying can be a one off occurrence or can be a sustained campaign to make the party feel like that they are worthless and deserve the treatment.





#32 peking homunculus

Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:16 PM

people can be nasty without it being bullying. A one off event is not bullying.

#33 Expelliarmus

Posted 25 April 2012 - 05:16 PM

QUOTE (opethmum @ 25/04/2012, 12:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would consider bullying in this way.

Any act whether it be physical, verbal, psychological that is intent on creating an imbalance of power and making a party subject to cruel, malicious, defamatory treatment for personal gain, amusement etc. The bullying can be a one off occurrence or can be a sustained campaign to make the party feel like that they are worthless and deserve the treatment.

This definition is too narrow. Also, if it is a one off it is harassment and NOT bullying.

It doesn't have to be about to make a person feel they are worthless. Sometimes the bullying is something the perpetrator does to make themselves feel better. I have seen children do it because they cannot do the work, so they pick on the child who can because that is in their control and doing the maths problem isn't. Or they will use bullying behaviours to intimidate the other child into doing the work for them because they cannot cope with it and want to hide that. They know if they get bad marks they'll get walloped, so they use whatever power they have to get the other child to do it.

I think the one area in which there is a question over 'once offs' is the type of situation you have in Mean Girls. Yes, sometimes the ongoing or sustain behaviour is perpetrated against one person but that ongoing and sustained could apply to the bully. It's still going to happen more than once to a child for them to register it. Most kids - and I have the benefit of knowing a group in excess of 200 - can move past a once off incident, unless they know it has happened to others. They begin to put the pieces together.

Most violent incidents in primary school are simple cases of kids lashing out and 'hitting out'. The more common forms of bullying involve verbal harassment and taunts. The new realm of cyber-bullying is harder still to navigate.

#34 BlueMeanie

Posted 25 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

I find this an interesting topic.  The 'media' definition of bullying seems to be 'if you ever get picked on by anyone'.  I think this is nonsense because sometimes kids are nasty. And kids, especially teenagers, start to think they are being bullied because they are being told that nastiness and b**chiness are bullying.

I'm saying this from my own experience: the kid at school who everyone liked to pick on.  I was nerdy, intelligent, and just didn't have great social skills.  I was different, and kids were mean, from grade one through to grade twelve, two completely different schools.  The only time I was treated well by the other kids was for two years at a school where there wasn't an attitude of smart = loser.   But I was never bullied.  I was never a target. No-one ever tried to exercise power over me.  And it was not just one person; it was pretty random.  Girls would be best friends one week and ignore me the next.

Bullying is real.  Bullying happens to kids a lot, and I believe it's a power play.  But kids being kids who haven't yet learn how to respond to people who are different or that they just don't like isn't bullying. It still needs to be dealt with.

I was bullied at work.  I had a student in my class who hated women.  He was twelve.  He'd got his attitude from his father.  Both of his parents worked at the school, and were going weekly to the principal to complain about what I'd done or not done, or about the way I was teaching something. Not once did they come directly to me to offer me help or advice as to how I might do things better (I was still just a new teacher!).  The father did speak to me over the phone one day and told me that he didn't believe my story as to what had happened in class, and was listening to his son.  He would regularly say things to his mates that his parents had said about me while I was in earshot.  The worst was when he said he'd probably be changing schools next year if I was still at the school (it was a small school, so there was a good chance I'd have him in at least one class).  Their efforts worked.  I quit teaching at the end of that year.  The pressure put on me by these parents, on top of minimal support to start with, was just too much.  They were using their positions of power - staff members - to be able to do things that ordinary parents couldn't do to try and get rid of me (I don't know what their problem was with me, other than being young), and they were very targeted in their efforts.  My husband taught the boy for the same number of classes as I had him and he never had any problem with the kid or the parents.


#35 JRA

Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:27 PM

QUOTE
Yeah, thats it restorative justice. Sounds like your DS delt with the hitting thing really well. And yeah, it doesn't sound like bullying to me really.


YEs, with the first child, who has sns I don't believe it is.

It is simply something that others need to deal with.

In the second case where it is habitual, to be fu etc, and the school has done some restorative justice sessions I think it is

#36 swirlygirl

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:02 PM

QUOTE (JRA @ 23/04/2012, 08:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Now that has been added. So if there are two kids in the same grade at school, where is the imbalance of power? (assuming not major physical differences)


Popularity and social standing have been mentioned, but an imbalance in power can also arise from fear/intimidation. An unpopular child/adult can still have power over another if everyone else is too scared to stand up against the bullying behavior as they don't want to become a target themselves.


#37 dsk72

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

http://www.monaro.nsw.gov.au/files/docs/ki...t_bullying1.pdf

Check out the above link.

DD1 had a terrible year last year (aged 7.5-8.5yrs) where she was systematically psychologically and emotionally bullied for the whole year.  It was very interesting to discuss the situation with her as she seemed to have a very good grasp on what was going on socially.  The Bully Child was always 'in charge' or 'the boss' and that was the answer to why DD wasn't able to resolve the situation.  I'd say why didn't you go and play with xxx and she would say that Bully Child has said xxx wasn't allowed to play with her.  There were handstand competitions in which DD would never make the grade.  Dance auditions which she failed as well.  Every time DD made a new friend, the new friend was asked to join the group and cut off from DD again.  All sorts of nasty little social games to undermine DD's self esteem and weaken her social standing.  There were even threats of physical abuse if she didn't toe the line.  The whole reason why she became the focus of the Bully Child's attention was because she refused to toe the line and become a minion.

It's very interesting to see the difference in the group of children she now plays with.  I ask who's in charge and she always replies "no-one".  They have a very happy, harmonious existence now.  Bully Child is still at the same school, however I was quite direct with the school that they are not to be placed in the same class.  And there would have been some massive waves if Bully Child actively sought out DD in the playground this year.  Fortunately, so far, so good.

I don't really know what I will think if Bully Child is given a position of authority come Year 6 (councillor or faction captain), as I think a person put in that position should have natural leadership skills from a healthy self esteem and the power to inpire their peers rather than intimidate them.

Good luck with it all.  One of those really difficult parts of parenting is knowing someone is intentionally hurting your child.

Cheers


#38 Gangnam Style

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:51 PM

dsk72 (and others), are the bullies counselled about their behaviour as part of the resolution processes the school(s) implements?



#39 Expelliarmus

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:57 PM

QUOTE (Put lipstick on it @ 25/04/2012, 08:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
dsk72 (and others), are the bullies counselled about their behaviour as part of the resolution processes the school(s) implements?

Yes, that is supposed to happen with restorative justice.

#40 dsk72

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:57 PM

I believe the Bully Child was spoken to on numerous occasions and was also made to go and read books at lunch instead of playing with the other children if their behaviour was a problem.  Nothing really made much difference.

To be honest the school didn't interact much with me at all.  I'd discussed with the class teacher in Term 1, and sent a letter in Term 2.  DD had seen the school chaplain many times over the problems.  When I eventually lost my patience and spoke to the chaplain, she claimed that she didn't realise how serious and repetitive it was.  So then I spoke with someone in the admin - not sure of her position, and told her that we are not going to tolerate bullying of any form any more and I will expect some strong action from the school.

Apart from anything else the Bully Child has developed a reputation among the parents and I think that is an extremely unhealthy situation in itself.  I never mentioned to anyone who my DD had a problem with, but it was amazing how many people guessed correctly.

I'm not sure what the situation is with Bully Child this year, whether their behaviour has been corrected or not.  But as it does not involve my child directly, it's not really my concern at the moment.

Cheers


#41 steppy

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:58 PM

At the primary school my stepkids went to they also classified exclusion as bullying. It was difficult because there was this bully girl whose mother would keep going to the school and complaining her child was being excluded, and then all the other mums would be pressured to invite this unlikeable girl to parties and sleepovers, which resulted in other kids being bullied by her ... such a snarled tangled thing to define.

#42 Canberra Chick

Posted 25 April 2012 - 07:59 PM

QUOTE
Also, if the child doing the continual physical intimidation has special needs, does it alter the answer.

Yes, a very key topic in our house at the moment.


This is a problem in our house. A child in DS's class wants to be friends with DS, but because his verbal skills aren't great his way of showing his 'friendliness' is to choke and punch DS.

DS has spoken to the teacher and they have stepped in a couple of times, but the behaviour resumes the next recess/lunch break. I have asked DS if he wants me to intervene (i.e. have a quiet chat with his teacher, see if we can come up with some strategies), but he said to wait until after the holidays and see if it continued.

I don't believe at this point he is being bullied; as far as I can gather the other child has a range of physical and neural problems and has difficulty making friends. I'd like to see this child getting some help with communicating and what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.

Another child in the class keeps making snidey comments, accusing DS of cheating at soccer etc. That seems to be more upsetting for DS.

#43 JRA

Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:03 PM

CC: Same. DS knows that one child "cannot help it", the other well....

#44 opethmum

Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:19 PM

Howdo -

In primary school, I was made to feel worthless and that I was crap. We often give them the benefit of the doubt that they do not know what they are doing but too often they do know what they are doing and they know it hurts. This is where too often parents like to make themselves feel better by this stance if their child is the aggressor.


#45 Expelliarmus

Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

blink.gif Whuh?

I was saying not all bullying has to involve making a child feel like crap and worthless as the goal, not that 'you aren't bullied if 'all' they did was make you feel like crap'.

Other stuff is ALSO bullying was was my point.



#46 JRA

Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:35 PM

Well there you go there is a whole bullying forum area.

That is the way to lose a discussion, never to be seen again

#47 Expelliarmus

Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:36 PM

I saw that the other day and wondered if it ever got used!

#48 mummabear

Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:40 PM

I had no idea there was a forum for bullying..sorry.

Some interesting points.  I think my own definition falls somewhere into line with this-

QUOTE
Sustained and repeated physical or verbal threats or intimidation by the same person to the same target over a period of time.


But I have questioned this a few times, mainly because my daughter is so consistently manipulated by a so called friend. It is constant, and she can be very nasty if she doesn't get her way. (she runs all the games in the small circle of friends, picking and choosing who does what and deliberately leaving out some people) and if it doesn't go her way...'I am not playing!' 'I'm not your friend' 'give me back my gift I gave you'. I could go on. These are not one offs. They happen every day. DD has been loaded with responses to this regular power play, not sure if it stops the behaviour but my daughter doesn't feel like a victim anymore. I could keep listing the things this girl does...she is actually a likeable child when u meet her and I really like her mum, very decent woman whom I have known for years. Did someone say awkward? Anyway, I guess I am dealing with it and dd is happy at school, she is confidently dealing with this child rather than giving in to her demands, but still waivers at times as she is so persistent.  Is this bullying or just an example of what some might refer to as being a 'b**ch'. I have been calling it bullying, but I am wondering if I am just being dramatic because it is my own child?

#49 Expelliarmus

Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:37 PM

To be honest she just sounds like a spoiled brat. I think it could turn into bullying but it sounds as if it's currently a simple social dynamic common among girls. Not sure how old your DD is but it's a common play style.  

Basically, I think it's borderline.

I also think it sells kids short to refer to exclusion or other behaviours as bullying. Yes it's one of a range of behaviours that contribute to bullying but we need to name behaviour to children and be explicit. I have seen kids look at me in horror when I am blunt with them and tell them that what they said was sexual harassment. I have seen kids trying to argue but realise they can't when I name their behaviour as exclusion rather than bullying.

If you simply label it bullying then the child usually has a response, the most common one being "They did it/something to me first!" Whether or not the thing that was done to them warranted being strangled is beside the point in the child's eyes.It could go something like this:

Sally: He scratched me!
Bob: She scratched me first!
Sally: Because he said I was a girl and couldn't play!
Bob: Because we already had even teams!

Now Sally could be consistently lashing out physically at Bob and you could label it bullying and tell her off/hand out a consequence and it will do ... Nothing.

Sally gets excluded from the game - Bob thinks he has a fair enough reason, but he's addressed it by being a sexist pig. Sally recognises the slight and lashes out so Bob retaliates. Either Sally or Bob's parents could think their child was the victim of bullying and the other child the perpetrator.

But if you teach Bob that he's excluding, and engaging in sexist behaviours rather than labelling it bullying it will be more successful - because honestly, *which* child is the bully in that scenario?

Saying 'bullying' to a child doesn't tell them anything. They don't know what it looks like unless you make it explicit. It's not a behaviour, it's a set of behaviours and by naming and describing them we demystify it. Most adults have trouble defining it, how can we expect kids to?

OP, by giving your daughter the skills to even the social playing field, you have done exactly the right thing. Some of the behaviours would fit under the bullying banner I am sure, but by giving your DD a way to neutralise the social power the other child holds she's dealing with it efficiently and effectively. If she is confidently dealing with the child she isn't being bullied. The other child may still be engaging in bullying behaviours however - so worth keeping an eye on.






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