Older students in schools do pick on the younger children especially during recess periods. How a bullied child should react?
The best advice for bullied children is to stay away from the bullied to the extent possible. This isnt cowardice, just a passive defense mechanism. The more exposed they are, the more vulnerable they become to bullies. Advise children to say in classrooms during the peak bullying season and to hang out with groups of friends. Generally, bullies lose interest after a while. But if you feel that your child is being sought out and bullied in spite of her staying away, then the matter cannot be taken lightly. It has to be immediately reported to the school authorities. Usually in such cases, the bully is not a harmless older child picking on a kid, but one with deeper motives who wants to take it out on a helpless younger child.
Is your child being bullied? How do we know when to take childrens complaints seriously?
A bullied child will drop hints (in many cases, bullies extract a vow of silence from the victim) or tell you directly that somebody is picking on them. Ask for all details the first time if they tell you or talk to your childs friends. Go by your instinct. If your child suddenly seems visibly reluctant about going to school, has unusual night awakenings, sudden mood changes, avoids certain people, loses appetite and is not her usual self, its time to take up the issue with school authorities. Never ignore your child in this matter – she needs your support.
What should children do when bullied?
Depending on the situation, there are several options. One is to ignore the bullys provocations and do their own thing. Another is to try to be friendly with the bully and win over the enemy. Alternatively advice your child to drop hints that she will complain to teachers/parents. Or she could even give the bully an open confrontational telling off.
Depending on the situation, your child will need to choose the best course of actions. Guide your child, using your discretion and experience.
Meanwhile find out if there are rules against bullying in school. If so, what are they?
Most schools have basic rules – no teasing students, no passing rude or lewd remarks, etc. Schools can take precautions by appointing teacher/students volunteers to monitor crowded areas like the canteen, playground or toilets during recess hours. If space permits, they can also segregate primary, middle and senior students to avoid unnecessary clashes.