Bullying: clues to detect it in time
The bullying It is a social issue with implications for pediatric patients, as well as sexual abuse or domestic violence in adolescents and affects almost 23% of the school population, according to the Cisneros Report. "The Harassment occurs physically in children, while in girls is more in the form of exclusion. The ages in which bullying is most frequent is between 6 and 13 years", says Marta Jurado, social educator specializing in school medication issues.
In the framework of the 65th Congress of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP), this expert has ensured that "we must pay special attention to the psychological damage that leaves bullying in the minors, more intense and permanent than the physical damage. "In the opinion of Marta Jurado, a child who is alone in the classroom, only in the playground or who prefers to be alone at home, should represent a signal alert for parents and guardians. "Children, people in general, we are by nature social beings, we can not hide in phrases like shy, prefer to be alone with at recess, etcetera. It's time to sit down with that child and talk. "
The expert says that "although we have gained over the years in communication between parents and children, we have reduced the time spent with them and, therefore, the number of conversations that we have with them."
The role of parents in bullying
Start a Conversation with minors that invites trust, to tell and explain their day to day in school, is essential to recognize as soon as possible a case of school harassment. However, says the expert, "children have many ways to express their discomfort and is not always talking, for example, we should start to suspect when the child begins to have difficulty falling asleep, is irritable, or with nausea or headaches in the mornings when going to school, low school performance for no apparent reason, is elusive at the time of telling things about the school, "says Marta Jurado.
In this case, once there is a suspicion that something is happening or confirmation by the minor that there may be a case of bullying, must be, First of all, go to school, "always in a conciliatory tone, without accusing, and it is fundamental - he warns - not to blame the child in the domestic environment attacking against his way of dressing or combing his hair, or his way of being, his preferences, etc., thinking that if we modify from home what makes him different, we will prevent them from making fun of him at school. This attitude on the part of parents, even for their own good, will only make them feel more insecure. It is possible that we are making a dent in the child at home and that we do not successfully avoid doing it at school ".
Repeated school harassment undermines children's self-esteem
A child that has been repeatedly harassed You can suffer serious self-esteem problems that they undermine other aspects of their lives, "are children who no longer love themselves, who are full of defects and not worthy of respect." In this sense, the work of positive reinforcement of parents who feel that they are loved unconditionally, regardless of how they are physically or intellectually, "emphasizes this expert. "It is necessary to teach children to cultivate their self-esteem, to assert themselves, to defend themselves assertively, adults must act when the child is in imbalance of power," he says.
Regarding the profile of the child who is harassing, the minor's relationship with his family environment, as well as the educational model, are determining factors in the behavior of these minors. "Authoritarian educational styles, lacking in love and surrounded by many standards, with a high level of demand, tend to favor in children the appearance of an unstable personality, with low self-esteem masked in a false security," says this expert. "They are children who need to feel superior to others, so if they find a different child who stands out because he or she is not particularly physically capable or the opposite, who is brighter in some aspect, they will tend to make clear from the beginning who is the leader, "he explains.
Symptoms that disappear on weekends
When the symptoms presented by a minor, such as abdominal pains or headaches, difficulty falling asleep or lack of food, do not correspond to any clinical diagnosis and yet they persist in time disappearing miraculously on weekends or during school holidays It is more than likely that we are facing a possible case of bullying.
In this case, says the expert, "it would be useless to openly ask the child if he or she is being bullied because fear or shame can make the child deny it, and we will get better results if we initiate a dialogue with the minor that forces him to narrate his answers beyond the monosyllables and give us the opportunity to compose the image of his day to day in school "what he played during the recess and with whom, if he had fun, which subject do you like best at school and what is the reason? Who are your best friends and why? What is the time of the school day that you like the most? "are just some examples of questions that can be asked" .
The work of the pediatrician in this case is fundamental in terms of accompanying the child and his family. "It should assess the physical and psychological damage produced to the child and refer it if necessary to other specialists, such as the psychologist, should help restore the child's self-esteem, reinforcing positive messages that make the child feel safe and good with himself" , says this expert.
Advice:Marta Jurado, social educator specializing in school medication issues.