As a parent or grandparent, you want to shield your child from danger, from physical pain and from emotional trauma. However, it is sometimes difficult to do. Whether or not your child is homeschooled, in school, or on the internet, they can be subjected to bullying. But have you ever wondered whether or not you are being overprotective? That, perhaps, the “bullying” is simply “child’s play” and your child is just being teased? Before we address this question, let us first define bullying. Bullying can take two forms - physical and psychological (which can include verbal harassment) (Shariff, 2007). While physical bullying is sometimes easier to identify, verbal bullying, which includes name calling, teasing and threatening, can be just as harmful. Teasing turns to bullying “when victim(s) and perpetrator(s) cease to agree when the behaviour should stop and when a power imbalance is created between them” (Shariff, 2007). An example of this would be when two children are rough housing, but one begins to get aggressive and mean towards the other. When the aggressive child does not cease his mean behavior, in response to the other child asking him to, this “playing” has now turned to bullying. So, to answer the earlier question of whether or not you are being overprotective, the answer is no. If your child is feeling attacked (either physically or verbally) then you need to discuss it with them and decide the best way to deal with the situation.
For ways to deal with bullying, for both you and your child, visit our blog next week for “How Can I Help My Child Deal with a Bully”.
Shariff, S., & MyiLibrary. (2007). Cyber-bullying: Issues and solutions for the school, the classroom and the home. London: Taylor & Francis e-Library.