Harassment at school: what to do when a child is the scapegoat of his classmates?

Harassment at school: what to do when a child is the scapegoat of his classmates?

Teasing, humiliation … between 10% to 15% of students in France would be harassed in primary school or college. Decryption of this insidious phenomenon by the child psychiatrist Nicole Catheline.

At home, your child is no longer the same. Sad, erased, he sleeps badly, and his grades are falling. Perhaps he is persecuted and abused by his comrades.

Humiliations that go unnoticed

Some mockery, names of birds … It goes quietly, in the playground or in the classroom … These are children’s games, nothing serious a priori, can we think. Wrongly, because “this particular situation that carries with it germs of violence is nothing more than harassment, ” says Dr. Nicole Catheline. However, these humiliations often go unnoticed and the scapegoat has trouble defending itself.

“They are bullying, sneaky shots, small insignificant aggression in appearance , which are repeated. Actions that target a “different” child (early, a little fat, shy …), to create a dominated / dominant situation. “

And that does not necessarily stop at the door of the school. The cyberstalking is a practice increasingly common, which amplifies and extends the actual bullying.

A situation that can do considerable damage to the victims ( severe depression , loss of self-confidence …). Especially since they settle in silence for fear of reprisals but also for guilt .

An isolated child is a potential victim of harassment

The assaulted is mostly rejected and excluded from the games. We make fun of him when he gives the right answers in class, he stays on the side when teams are formed in sports, we treat him “nerdy” or “jester” …

“There is no typical profile, says the child psychiatrist, but an isolated child may become a potential victim. “

The stalkers have nothing to envy their victims because they need to dominate often hides a vulnerability. This behavior of caid can be used to compensate for bad school results (it is not because I am bad in class that I can not impose my law). It can also be a reproduction of the relationship that his parents maintain, etc.

How do I know if my child is persecuted by his friends?

When a child becomes the scapegoat of his comrades, shame, guilt, or the fear of retaliation often leads him to silence his parents . Here are some symptoms that should lead parents to ask questions:

  • recent sleep difficulties,
  • the refusal to eat properly,
  • a withdrawal, a sad look,
  • academic results that fall dramatically,
  • angina and otitis with repetition, stomach aches …

“There are no specific signs of harassment because the abuser is usually smart enough not to be spotted. It is a brutal change of behavior, whatever the field, which must alert the parents. You have to ask your child clearly and directly if someone is bothering him, hurting him at school, says Catheline.

The child, relieved, thus understands that his parents are ready to listen to him and to believe him, since they evoke the possibility that other children can be mean and attack him. He already feels less alone …

Also read: School bullying: 4 behaviors that can alert parents

How to react to school if your child is harassed?

In recent years, the word is finally released on this long taboo subject. A day of national struggle has been instituted (it takes place on November 8 in 2018), social networks are mobilized with the hashtag # NonAuHarcèlementAnd celebrities, like most recently Mika, have testified to having suffered bullying.

A parent who alerts the teacher of his child is now better listened to. If your child is being harassed, it is recommended that you make an appointment with the school administration and contact a delegate of parents. If the situation does not change, you can also inform the nurse or the school doctor. Their contact details are obtained from the inspectorate of the academy.

“On the other hand, there is no question of going to solve his problems directly with the little stalker or his parents. We must always appeal to a third party as in all justice, “ recalls our speaker.

Namely: school bullying is punishable by law, including if the acts were committed outside the school.

How to react to your child in case of harassment?

Do not feel sorry for yourself but reassure him by valuing him. He must be congratulated for having the courage to speak about it. “We have to explain to him that there is a solution. For that, we must think together to understand why things happened there. No way to make him feel guilty but to explain to him that, to gain his freedom, he must get out of this trap and perhaps change his attitude or avoid taking on this role of victim, “suggests the doctor.

It can be proposed to invite friends to the house, to enroll in a sport, a youth movement (scouting for example). To many we are less vulnerable than ourselves. If the child refuses, parents to impose their decision because there is no question of leaving him in this state that can degenerate.

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