BULLYING - Is Your Child A Bully or A Victim?

As the new school year begins so does the homework, sports, cheer-leading, other extracurricular activities, and sadly, bullying.  Even though a lot of attention has been placed on bullying recently, a solution for this huge problem has not been found, so it is up to parents to take a stand and fight for their child.  Every child has the right to attend school, without the fear of being the victim of a bully.

BULLYING is the assertion of power through aggression in a repeated, hostile behavior by one or more people, which is intended to harm others.

BULLYING TAKES ON MANY FORMS:

  • Physical violence, including hitting, tripping, punching, kicking, shoving, pinching.Verbal threats, taunts, teasing, name calling, put-downs, and spreading of malicious rumor.
  • Threats and intimidation.
  • Stealing money and possessions.
  • Exclusion from peer groups, rejection, isolation, humiliation.
  • Cyber-bullying, including harassing e-mails or IMs, as well as hurtful and threatening postings on websites or blogs.
"Bullying is not about anger. It is not a conflict to be resolved, it's about contempt - a powerful feeling of dislike toward someone considered to be worthless, inferior or undeserving of respect. Contempt comes with three apparent psychological advantages that allow kids to harm others without feeling empathy, compassion or shame. These are: a sense of entitlement that they have the right to hurt or control others, an intolerance towards difference, and a freedom to exclude, bar, isolate, and segregate others." (Barbara Coloroso "The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander") 

WARNING SIGNS OF BULLYING:

  • Damaged or missing clothing or other personal belongings
  • Unexplained bruises or other injuries
  • A loss of friends
  • Reluctance to go to school
  • Poor school performance
  • Headaches, stomachaches or other physical complaints
  • Trouble sleeping or change in eating habits
  • A loss of interest in activities he/she previously enjoyed
  • Low self esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts
WHY DO SOME KIDS BULLY?
  • They may see it as a way of being popular.
  • To make themselves appear tough and in charge.
  • To get attention or make other people afraid of them.
  • They may be jealous of the person they are bullying. 
  • They may have been bullied themselves.
  •  
KIDS WHO BULLY ARE MORE LIKELY TO:

  • Do poorly in school.
  • Be suspended or expelled from school. 
  • Not be respected or trusted. 
  • Be seen as mean and unpleasant. 
  • Smoke and drink alcohol. 
  • Commit crimes in the future. 
  • Have their first serious encounter with the law in their mid-20's.
*FACTS ABOUT BULLYING:

  • Bullying occurs in school playgrounds every 7 minutes and once every 25 minutes in class.
  • 11 to 12 year old students reported bullying others more than younger (9-10 year old) and older (13-14 year old) students.
  • Boys report more physical forms of bullying; girls tend to bully in indirect ways, such as gossiping and excluding.
  • Boys who bully are physically stronger and have a need to dominate others.
  • Girls who bully tend to be physically weaker than other girls in their class.
  • Bullies have little empathy for their victims and show little remorse about bullying.
  • Boys and girls are equally likely to report being bullied.
  • Research has not supported the popular stereotype that victims have unusual physical traits.
  • 85% of bullying episodes occur in the context of a peer group.
  • 83% of students indicate that watching bullying makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Bullying stops in less than 10 seconds 57% of the time when peers intervene on behalf of the victim.
  • In playground observations, peers intervened in 11% of the bullying episodes, while teachers only intervened in 4% of bullying episodes.
  • Bullies often come from homes that are neglectful, hostile, and use harsh punishment.
  • Bullying is  a learned behavior.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO (If you suspect your child is being bullied)?

  • Talk often with your child and listen carefully.
  • Ask about your child's school day and friends.
  • Ask if your child feels safe at school.
  • Encourage your child to share his/her concerns.
  • Learn as much as you can about the situation. (Ask your child to describe how and when the bullying occurs, who is involved, and if other children or adults have witnessed the bullying.)
  • Teach your child how to respond to bullying. (Don't encourage fighting back against a bully, as this could lead to him/her getting hurt or getting in trouble.)
  • Contact school officials.  You may also want to encourage school officials to address bullying as part of the curriculum.
  • Followup.  Keep in contact with school officials if the bullying continues.  Be persistent.
  • Boost your child's self-confidence.  Help your child get involved in activities to raise self esteem, such as sports, karate, music or art.
  • Know when to seek professional help.  Consider professional or school counseling for your child if his/her fear or anxiety becomes overwhelming.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO (When your child is a bully)?

  • Take is seriously.  Don't treat bullying as a passing phase.
  • Teach that bullying is disrespectful and can be dangerous.
  • Talk to your child to find out why he or she is bullying.
  • Help build empathy for others and for those who are physically different.  Have them spend time with people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicity, mental and physical disabilities. 
  • Talk to your child about how it feels to be bullied.
  • Ask a teacher if your child is facing any problems at school.
  • Teach that bullying on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation is a form of hate behavior and is, in some cases, a hate crime.
  • Become a part of the bullying prevention efforts and programs at your school.
As if traditional bullying wasn't enough, kids are now being bullied online, called CYBER bullying.
i-SAFE America research team surveyed more than 1500 students in 4th to 8th grade across the country that revealed: 
  • 58% admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.
  • 53% admit having said something mean or hurtful to another online.
  • 42% have been bullied online.
  • 58% of kids have not told their parents or any adult about being bullied online.
CYBER-BULLYING INCLUDES:

  • A threatening email. 
  • Nasty instant messages (IMs)
  • Repeated texts sent to cell phone. 
  • A website setup to mock others.
  • "Borrowing" someones screen name and pretending to be them while posting a message.
  • Forwarding supposedly private messages, pictures or video to others.
PREVENTION TECHNIQUES FOR AVOIDING BULLIES ONLINE:

  • Don't give out private information, especially passwords. Not even to friends.
  • Don't send a message when you are angry-it is hard to undo things that are said in anger.
  • Never open, read or reply to messages from cyber-bullies.
  • If it is school related, tell your school.
  • Do not erase the messages. They may be needed to take action.
  • If bullied through chat or IM, the bully can often be blocked.
  • If you are threatened with harm, call the police.
  • By speaking out and telling an adult, online bullying can be stopped.
Bullying is an age old problem, but gone are the days when we can sit back and say, "kids will be kids". Bullying has gone too far. School administrators, teachers, school staff, students, and parents have got to accept the responsibility to recognize, report, and intervene when bullying occurs. We can no longer close our eyes to it. Studies have shown that acts of serious school violence (school shootings) stem from bullying issues, along with suicide.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Circle of Moms.

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Laura

I'm a single mom of 2 girls studying to be a special education teacher. Ziggy's Blog is a resource for parents of tweens/teens, focusing on dangerous teen trends & other teen topics, plus I blog to bring awareness to human trafficking in the US.
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Comments (2)
  • Alina - commented on Nov 13, 2012

    so how can i help her to get self conffidence and ignore all this kids which are bulling her?

  • Leigh - commented on Nov 11, 2012

    I learnt a lot from this article. I got bullied and I was so frightened that I was jumping irrationally at any shadow going past any window, even if it wasnt possible for a person to be up that high from outside. It sux when you get bullied, you bully back and they bully you more.