What Is Bullying Bullying is unwanted,aggressive behavior among school aged children thatinvolves a real or perceived powerimbalance
Identify bullying• The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.• Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Identify bullying• Most kids have been teased by a sibling or a friend at some point.• It is not usually harmful when done in a playful, friendly, and mutual way, and both kids find it funny.• When teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying
Are you wondering if your child is being bullied?It’s not a good feeling, neither to worry unnecessarily, nor tofind out that you have overlooked that your own child isbeing bullied.Research show that young victims of bullying are more likelyto report having been victimised to their parents than totheir teachers.Surveys also show that it is unlikely that children will tellsomeone that they are being bullied at all.It is crucial that parents are aware of the signs and symptomsof victimisation that relate to both traditional bullying and tocyber bullying, as most children who are cyber-bullied arealso victims of traditional bullying.
Signs and symptoms of children being victimised• The young person looks distressed or anxious, and yet refuses to say what is wrong.• Unexplained cuts and bruises.• Reluctance to go to school.• Changes in mood and behaviour.• Lower confidence and self-esteem.• Complaints of headaches and stomach aches.• Problems sleeping.• The child / teenager is likely to have very few friends and appears to be socially isolated from peers.• Possible decline in school performance.• This is not a fail-proof checklist, however; it does present a reliable enough indication that a child is being bullied.
Signs of cyber bullying• Child appears upset after viewing a text message.• Child appears upset after being online• Child removes himself from the online venue in which the cyber bullying occurred• Child withdraws from social interaction with peers.
Don’t take it lightelyIts important to take bullying seriouslyand not just brush it off as something thatkids have to "tough out."The effects can be serious and affect kidssense of self-worth and futurerelationships. In severe cases, bullying has contributedto tragedies, such as school shootings.
How to Handle the situation? If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and use it as a conversation starter, asking "What do you think of this?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" This might lead to questions like: "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" You might want to talk about any experiences you or another family member had at that age.
How to Handle the situation?•Let your kids know that if theyre being bullied — orsee it happening to someone else — its important totalk to someone about it, whether its you, anotheradult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend),or a sibling.•Sometimes kids feel like its their own fault, that if they lookedor acted differently it wouldnt be happening.•Sometimes theyre scared that if the bully finds out that theytold, it will get worse.•Others are worried that their parents wont believe them or doanything about it. Or kids worry that their parents will urgethem to fight back when theyre scared to.
How to Handle the situation?• Praise your child for being brave enough to talk about it.• Remind your child that he or she isnt alone — a lot of people get bullied at some point.• Emphasize that its the bully who is behaving badly — not your child.• Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do about it together.
Who else can help?• Sometimes an older sibling or friend can help deal with the situation.• It may help your daughter to hear how the older sister she idolizes was teased about her braces and how she dealt with it.• An older sibling or friend also might be able to give you some perspective on whats happening at school, or wherever the bullying is happening, and help you figure out the best solution.
What to do? Stop Bullying on the SpotWhen adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behaviour over time. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep kids safe.
• Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.• Separate the kids involved.• Make sure everyone is safe.• Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.• Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.• Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
What to do?• Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.• Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.• Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.• Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.• Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.• Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
Get police help or medical attention immediately if • A weapon is involved. • There are threats of serious physical injury. • There are threats of hate-motivated violence, such as racism or homophobia. • There is serious bodily harm. • There is sexual abuse. • Anyone is accused of an illegal act, such as robbery or extortion—using force to get money, property, or services.
Case Study“My son hates going to school because theres a boy who teases and picks on him every day. What can I do to help him?” Listen to your sons worries and convey that theyre perfectly understandable and that its OK for him to feel that way. Offer assurance without making him feel like youre trying to talk him out of feeling that way or dismissing his feelings. As he tells you how he feels, be sure to repeat back his thoughts and feelings using phrases like, "I know youre feeling worried." When he feels understood by you, hell be more receptive to your help and any advice on coping that you offer.
Case Study• Let him know that everyone worries, even adults, at one time or another. But also make sure he knows that there are ways he can feel better and less fearful.• Go over some strategies that he can use if someone teases him.• Ignoring the bully and simply walking away or using humor to combat aggressiveness might get the bully to stop.• Bullies often give up when they dont get a response from their target.
Although kids canresolve many incidentsof bullying on theirown, do keep an eye onthe situation. If itpersists, get involved bytalking to your childsteacher or schoolcounselor.
Points to Remember• It may be tempting to tell a kid to fight back. After all, youre angry that your child is suffering and maybe you were told to "stand up for yourself" when you were young.• You may worry that your child will continue to suffer at the hands of the bully.• But its important to advise kids not to respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can quickly escalate into violence, trouble, and someone getting injured.• Instead, its best to walk away from the situation, hang out with others, and tell an adult.
Some other strategies• Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and dont go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that youre not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess — wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.
• Hold the anger. Its natural to get upset by the bully, but thats what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but its a useful skill for keeping off of a bullys radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice "cool down" strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a "poker face" until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).
Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, youre showing that you dont care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
• Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying.• Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as a guidance counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they cant fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.• Remove the incentives. If the bully is demanding your lunch money, start bringing your lunch. If hes trying to get your music player, dont bring it to school.
Remember“Ones dignity may be assaulted,vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”