My child is being bullied, what's happening?

Bullying is an insidious behaviour that affects many children. It transgresses a child’s natural right to feel safe and secure and can affect a child’s performance at school, their peer relations and his or her self-esteem.

It also takes many forms and has many guises. Bullying is the selective, uninvited, intentional, repetitive oppression of one person by another person or group. It can involve some or all of the following behaviours: physical abuse, intimidation, harassment, exclusion from activities or groups, extreme teasing.

Bullying is not the domain of either gender. Girls bully just as much as boys but they do it in less physical ways. While boys will use physical intimidation or verbal abuse to wield power over others, girls are more likely to use exclusion or subtle verbal sarcasm to assert themselves over their victims.

Bullying is more prevalent in primary schools than secondary schools, although the type of bullying varies with age. As boys get older there is a gradual decrease in the amount of physical bullying but an increase in verbal intimidation. It would appear that bullying reaches a peak around the age of eight or nine years of age, which is true for girls and boys.

While children will often tease or sometimes fight physically with each other, this bickering should not be confused with bullying. The latter involves an imbalance of power as one person is powerless to stop the teasing or physical abuse