At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Confessions from the parent of a potential bully

In a recent Ipsos survey commissioned by Big Brothers Big Sisters and Invesco Canada, 59% of Canadians have revealed that they were bullied, when younger. That’s more than half the population. It got me thinking… who were all these people bullied by?

So here’s my confession... I have a child who is willful and has been known to use manipulative tactics to gain an advantage over his friends, and while I am being completely honest, over his brother and even myself at times.

Does that make him a potential bully? I think he could be.

Does that make him a bad kid. No. I don’t think so.

In the survey mentioned above - many Canadians also admitted they felt they suffered long-term harm as a result of bullying.

  • 69% suffered lack of confidence
  • 53% low self esteem
  • 29% depression
These potential long-term effects were confirmed by a study published in the Journal of JAMA Psychiatry last week. Researchers found that victims of bullying in childhood were 4.3 times more likely to have an anxiety disorder as adults, compared to those with no history of bullying or being bullied.

I think the hardest part is admitting that your child, who you may feel is a reflection of you as a parent, may not always make the choices you would like them to make, despite how much you teach them. I am sure many parents jump into action when they suspect their child may be the victim of bullying but how many are just as active when they suspect their child may be the bully.

If you look at the stats it only makes sense… in some cases the bullied are also sometimes the bullies and vice versa. It is not as clear cut as good or bad and disciplined or undisciplined. It’s a complex problem.

Our research shows that having a mentor to speak to for either the bully or the bullied is a step in the right direction in building self-confidence and improving relationships.

Tell us – have you ever bullied? Been bullied? Share your thoughts and possible solutions.

* Anti-Bullying Day is this Wednesday February 27, 2013. Show your support, wear a pink shirt.

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