March 6th has been established by the Greek Ministry of Education as a National Day against school violence and bullying. By saying school violence and bullying we mean the intentional, wanton, systematic and repeated violence and aggressive behavior, with purpose to impose, oppress and cause body and mental pain to students by their schoolmates, within and outside school.
Alarming are the results of a survey conducted by the non-profit voluntary organization “The Smile of the Child”, which show that violence among students in schools has increased. According to the survey, victims of bullying have been, in their statement, 32% of Greek students (boys at a rate of 34,2%, 29,71% girls), while 30,2% have been bullying perpetrators.
The especially worrying consequence according to a survey of American psychiatrists is that children who are victims of bullying, as adults face an increased risk of developing psychological problems such as anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal tendencies.
How can we tell if our child is being bullied? There are certain signs and behaviors that most probably testify this:
- Injuries or bruises / Lost or destroyed clothing
- Declining grades / Continuous school absences
- Change in eating habits
- Avoidance of areas and activities where there is no adult supervision
- Being upset after a phone call or a message received
- Losing old friends
- Having anxiety and phobias
- Being more distant and omitting activities he used to enjoy. Spending more time secluded in his room
- Speaking negatively about himself
- Avoiding eye contact
If you notice any of these signs in your child, take immediate action.
- Discuss with him in trust, so as to “open” himself to you
- Make him not to feel guilty
- Reward him for the “revelation”
- Explain the difference between “snitching” and “asking” for help
- Explain that no one has the right to badly behave towards him
- Do not ask him to retaliate
- Emphasize the importance of having communication with the teacher
- Contact yourself with the teacher and the school administration
- Call the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056, free and anonymously, in order to speak to a psychologist or social worker of this service that operates daily, 24 hours a day, and will give you valuable advice on how to behave and what to do.
Do not leave violence to nestle in schools …it’s good for you!