While the government presented its plan against school bullying on Wednesday, child psychiatrist Daniel Bailly lists for franceinfo the symptoms which make it possible to identify harassed children.
This is a question that increasingly concerns parents: how do you know if your child is the victim of school bullying? One in ten students on average would be affected, according to estimates by the government, which unveiled its interministerial plan on Wednesday September 27. The prosecutor will now be contacted in the event of a report and empathy lessons must be put in place from kindergarten.
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“We must be very attentive and very available to all the signals that children can emit”, underlines Daniel Bailly, child psychiatrist in Annecy. This former university professor at the Faculty of Marseille analyzed the symptoms which can help identify potential victims of school bullying. “Not just any child is going to be bullied, specifies the child psychiatrist. Predators are particularly good at spotting their prey and knowing which child will respond to their provocations. Generally, these are children who have anxiety disorders, are extremely shy and reserved. These are children who don’t get talked about, or even model children.”
Before leaving for school, a lump in my stomach
“It is very, very important that parents are made aware and not say, as we sometimes hear, ‘it’s not serious, he’s having a bad time’, explains child psychiatrist Daniel Bailly. As soon as a child emits signs of suffering, we should be concerned.. Symptoms may include anxiety attacks or stomach aches and headaches before leaving for school.
But these symptoms of anxiety are not systematically indicative of a situation of school bullying, and they can be temporary. They should be taken into account “from the moment they take place over a certain duration and with a certain intensity”.
HAS school, falling grades
The grade report can be a good indicator of school bullying, especially when academic results are in free fall. HAS school, bullied children tend to isolate themselves, to be sad. They may also have difficulty taking initiative and integrating. “They are afraid to raise their finger, go to the board or say stupid things”indicates child psychiatrist Daniel Bailly.
It is therefore essential to communicate well with teaching staff. “If at the start of the school year, the teacher tells you either ‘we can’t hear him’, or that it takes three months for him to hear the child’s speech, you should be worried”, adds Daniel Bailly.
Injuries on the way home from school
A bullied child may have scratches, bruises, and sometimes even torn clothes or damaged school supplies. “Clothes torn off sounds like a fight, so you have to pay attention and ask the child what happened”, explains Daniel Bailly. At the same time, a lack of appetite or sleep problems are also symptoms of school bullying.
Increasingly difficult communication
Once home from school, the bullied child may wallow in silence. “A child who is bullied is often ashamed because he thinks it is his fault”, analyzes child psychiatrist Daniel Bailly. You must then be patient so that the child feels confident and allows himself “to open up without ulterior motives and without the fear of being judged or being blamed for anything. It is therefore not necessarily during the first exchange that he will confide.” A hasty exchange risks being counterproductive, because the bullied child may become more withdrawn.
How to get a bullied child to talk?
“The child must feel that the parents are like a safety net: whatever happens, he will bounce back because his parents are there”notes Daniel Bailly, who recommends formulas like “you can tell me things, don’t worry, we’ll help you, we’re here”. He calls on concerned parents to make an appointment with a child psychiatrist. “The general practitioner is not in the best position if he sees the child once a year for a fitness certificate, unless he knows him very well.”
Once the appointment is made, do you have to go to the consultation with your child? Yes, answers the child psychiatrist. “The first consultation is always with the child and the parents. For a very simple reason, it is that if you take either the child or the parents alone, the other party will be able to imagine lots of things. A child can very well imagine that the psychiatrist is going to collude with the parents against him or that the parents are going to say anything. All of this must be laid out straight away so that things can happen in a completely normal way. completely serene and peaceful.”
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If the bullied child refuses to consult or express himself to his parents, it is advisable to communicate with those around him on a daily basis at school. Children open up to the person they trust the most. “It will not necessarily be the parents, some confide more easily in friends, teachers or sports instructors. It is imperative, from the moment these people receive the child’s words, that they can interact with family.”
3018, unique and free call number
A free phone number operated by the Ministry ofEnational education is set up in 3018. First dedicated solely to cyberbullying, it now also concerns school bullying, according to the new government plan unveiled on Wednesday. This number is aimed at students, families and professionals who are witnesses or victims of a situation of harassment between students. A mobile application should soon be released. Until now, school bullying was dealt with via the dedicated number, 3020, which will soon disappear.