Dealing With Bullying! A Not So Uncommon Problem:
Bullying has been human problem since the beginning of time. Although bullying incidences occur most often when a child is in middle school, this problem can be a challenge for all people of all ages.
The human population is comprised of 5% bullies, 10% targets (or victims) and 85% bystanders. In order to function, a bully must have power. Although bullies are few in number, their ability to take power away from others (targets) allows them to thrive.
If you want to stop a bully, you must find a way to unplug their power supply. The most successful way to do that is to encourage your bystanders to work together, as the amount of power that they have collectively far outweighs the amount of power that the bully has obtained.
When your child is involved in some way with a bullying incident, there are many things that you as a parent should know and do:
What is Bullying? – Bullying is aggressive, hurtful behavior that involves an imbalance of power and is usually repeated. There are several types of bullying:
- Physical Bullying – hitting punching; Verbal Bullying – name-calling, teasing, mean words or put-downs;
- Relationship Bullying – exclusion, intimidation; and
- Cyberbullying – using interactive technology to post or text embarrassing, threatening, or hateful/hurtful content (probably the most dangerous type of bulling because it is bullying without boundaries!
What are the effects of being bullied? – Bullying can have serious consequences. Youth who are bullied are more likely to become depressed, have low self-esteem, miss school, feel sick, underachieve in academics, and think about suicide.
What should I tell my child to do if he/she sees someone else being bullied?
- Get help - tell an adult. If you don’t want to tell an adult in person, write a note and don’t sign your name.
- Be willing to be an honest witness if the bully says he or she didn’t do it.
- Be a friend to the targeted student by helping him or her get away (“Your teacher is looking for you.” “Let’s get out of here.”)
- Be a friend. Sit or walk with the person being bullied. Help that person make friends. Include the person in your group.
- Don’t join in. Refuse to go along with rumors, excluding, and other bullying.
- If the person being mean is a good friend of yours, tell him or her to “cut it out.” Remember bullies need approval from others to have power.
What should I do if my child tells me that he/she is being bullied?
Be supportive & gather information – Become proactive as opposed to reactive!
- Take your child’s report of bullying seriously. Listen carefully and get details.
- Empathize; let your child know you understand and that it is not their fault.
- Don’t encourage retaliation; it will not end the problem, may escalate it, and could get your child suspended.
- Your protective instincts may stir up strong emotions. Don’t verbally accost school staff or contact the parents of the other children.
Contact your child’s teacher or principal.
- Make sure the school is aware of the bullying situation.
- Keep your emotions in check so you can work together to make a plan for your child’s safety. (Leave your bear claws in the car and stick to the facts!).
Help your child become more resilient.
- Help develop your child’s talents or interests. This will build confidence.
- Encourage your child to make friends in the class and outside of school. This will build social skills.
- Teach your child how to seek adult help. Make sure he/she knows reporting bullying is not tattling.
- Make sure your home is a safe and loving place and that you are always willing to listen. Eating dinner together is a great place to start.
For more information on this topic visit www.stopbullying.gov
Bully B.E.A.N.S. is a fun story that teaches people of all ages to become proactive when it comes to bullying.
This book can help children and adults understand why bullying happens and what they can do to stop it. Finally, a bullying book that speaks to the bystander!
For more information or to purchase this book please visit Julia Cook Online