Prevent Bullying: Tips & Skills for Parents


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UB EAP workshop held on December 13, 2011.

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  • Parent should teach your child to be assertive in expressing his or her feelings, they should know how to identify bullying behaviors. Encourage them for taking the brave step of reporting that incident and console them that things will get better, and that you will always be there when they need you. As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who find it quite hard to manage time, I found this great application which featured a safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here:
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  • wonderful, concise collection of information for parents. I hope to share it with others.
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  • Research from the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education on 37 school shootings, including Columbine, found that almost three-quarters of student shooters felt bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others. In fact, several shooters reported experiencing long-term and severe bullying and harassment from their peers
  • Prevent Bullying: Tips & Skills for Parents

    1. 1. Amanda Nickerson, PhD Associate Professor and Director Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention University at Buffalo [email_address] UB Employee Assistance Program Workshop December 13, 2011
    2. 2. <ul><li>Participants will: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define and recognize bullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn about the role of bullies, targets, peers (bystanders), schools, and families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify strategies that parents can use to prevent and intervene in bullying situations </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Intentional, usually repeated acts of verbal, physical, or written aggression by a peer (or group of peers) operating from a position of strength or power with the goal of hurting the victim physically or damaging status and/or social reputation Olweus (1978); United States Department of Education (1998)
    4. 4. <ul><li>Physical bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>punching, shoving, acts that hurt people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Verbal bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>name calling, making offensive remarks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indirect bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>spreading rumors, excluding, ganging up </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cyber bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sending insulting messages, pictures or threats by e-mail, text messaging, chat rooms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hinduja & Patchin (2009) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Teasing : Fun, good-natured, “give-and-take” between friends to get both parties to laugh Bullying : Based on a power imbalance; intent to cause psychological or physical harm; usually repeated Conflict : A struggle, dispute, or misunderstanding between two equal forces
    6. 6. <ul><li>Estimates vary WIDELY, but according to student self-report... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20-25% have bullied at least once </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>5-20% bully consistently </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15-40% are targets of bullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>20-25% are bullied regularly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>~ 10-40% are cyber-bullied </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1-2% are extreme victims who experience severe traumatization or distress </li></ul></ul></ul>Carylyle & Steinman (2007); Cowie (2000); Hindjua & Patchin (2010); Nansel et al. (2001); Perry, Kusel, & Perry (1988); Skiba & Fontanini (2000)
    7. 7. <ul><li>Pre-K through late high school (and beyond); peaks in middle school </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical bullying declines as children get older </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social, verbal, and cyberbullying continue through high school </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anywhere; most likely in less closely supervised areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bus, locker room, playground, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lunch, hallways, and everywhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(for cyberbullying) </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>Boys </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More direct, physical bullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bully more frequently than girls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bully both boys and girls </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Girls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More indirect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More subtle, hard to detect, and often occurs in groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tend to target other girls of the same age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cyberbullying slightly more common than for males </li></ul></ul>Banks (2000); Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, (2010); Crick & Grotpeter, (1995); Hinduja & Patchi (2009); Hoover & Oliver, (1996); Nansel et al., (2001); Olweus, (2002); Underwood, (2003)
    9. 9. Culture & Community School (Staff/Peers ) Family Bully, Target, and Bystander Adapted from Swearer & Espelage (2004)
    10. 10. <ul><li>Desire for power and control </li></ul><ul><li>Get satisfaction from others’ suffering </li></ul><ul><li>Justify their behavior (“he deserved it”) </li></ul><ul><li>More exposed to physical punishment </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be depressed </li></ul><ul><li>Engage in other risky and delinquent behaviors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alcohol and drug use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fighting </li></ul></ul>Batsche & Knoff (1994); Beaver, Perron, & Howard, (2010); Olweus (1993); Swearer et al. (in press); Vaughn, Bender, DeLisi, (in press)
    11. 11. <ul><ul><li>Refer to others negatively (wimp, loser) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack empathy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong need to get his or her own way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hostile/defiant attitude </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anger easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deny involvement or blame others when behavior addressed </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Have a position of relative weakness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Age, ethnic background, financial status, disability, sexual orientation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most are passive and lack assertiveness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do nothing to invite aggression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not fight back when attacked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May relate better to adults than peers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fewer provoke others (provocative victims or bully-victims) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offend, irritate, tease others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reactive; fight back when attacked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boivin, Poulin, & Vitaro (1994); Hodges & Perry (1999); Olweus (1978, 1993, 2001); Schwartz (2000); Snyder et al. (2003) </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><ul><li>Unexplained illnesses, cuts/bruises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not want to go to school or be in social situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any change in behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not interested in doing things he/she used to like doing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Withdrawn </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>More likely to experience legal or criminal troubles as adults (even after controlling for other risk factors) </li></ul><ul><li>Poor ability to develop and maintain positive relationships in later life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Andershed, Kerr, & Stattin (2001); Farrington (2009); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farrington, & Ttofi (2009, 2011); Oliver, Hoover, & Hazler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(1994); Olweus (1993); Ttofi & Farrington (2008) </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>Emotional distress </li></ul><ul><li>Loneliness, peer rejection </li></ul><ul><li>Desire to avoid school </li></ul><ul><li>Increased anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation; low self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>In some cases, may respond with extreme violence </li></ul>Boivin, Hymel, & Bukowski (1995); Boulton & Underwood (1992); Crick & Bigbee (1998); Egan & Perry (1998); Hinduja, & Patchin, (2009); Kochenderfer & Ladd (1996); Nickerson & Sltater (2009); Olweus (1993); Perry et al. (1988)
    16. 16. <ul><li>Peers see 85% of bullying ( most join in, some ignore, small number intervene) </li></ul><ul><li>Peers are influential in early adolescence, when they are more supportive of bullying and less likely to intervene </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bullying = higher social status in a group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adolescents seek out peers who display more independent, aggressive as opposed to more adult-like, conforming behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Culture of silence” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charach et al. (1995); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>Bullying is more likely to thrive in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unsupportive or unhealthy school climates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environments lacking in sense of belonging for students and strong relationships among and between students, teachers, and families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schools where adults ignore or dismiss bullying behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schools who serve students who are not academically engaged </li></ul></ul>Doll, Song, Champion, & Jones, (2011); Holt, Keyes, & Koenig, (2011); Kasen, Johnson, Chen, Crawford, & Cohen, (2011); Swearer (in press) <ul><ul><li>LEADERSHIP IS CRITICAL!!! </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Often not involved in bullying problem or resolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intervene less than 10% of the time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not told about problem (victims fear reprisal) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Powerful influence on peer acceptance of others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Warmth, positive feedback leads to greater peer acceptance </li></ul></ul>Banks (1997); Chang (2003); Cohn & Canter (2002); Hughes, Cavell, & Willson (2001); Limber (2002); Mullin-Rindler (2003); Skiba & Fonanini (2000); White, Sherman, & Jones (1996)
    19. 19. <ul><li>For children who bully, there may be… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less warmth, involvement, supervision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of clear, consistent rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harsh/corporal punishment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parental discord </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic violence/child abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For children who are bullied, there may be… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More intense, overprotective parenting (for boys) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threats of rejection and lack of assertion (for girls) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inconsistent discipline practices (overprotective and neglectful) without warmth for bully-victims </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For children who intervene, there may be… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More open, trusting relationships with mothers </li></ul></ul>Bowers et al. (1994); Finnegan et al. (1998); Ladd & Ladd (1998); Nickerson, Mele, & Princiotta (2008); Olweus, Limber, & Mihalic (1999)
    20. 20. <ul><li>What Can We Do? </li></ul><ul><li>We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. </li></ul><ul><li>Marian Wright Edelman </li></ul><ul><li>Founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund </li></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>Model treating others with dignity and respect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid using derogatory terms towards others (gay, retard, wimp) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Watch (and listen) in social interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Have high expectations for behavior and a low tolerance for being mean </li></ul><ul><li>Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes . - Chinese Proverb </li></ul>
    22. 23. Visit for other resources and conversation starters
    23. 24. <ul><li>Don’t join in…speak up if it is safe to do so </li></ul><ul><li>B and together as a group against bullies </li></ul><ul><li>Tell an adult about the bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tattling = telling adult to get someone in trouble </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telling = telling an adult because someone’s behavior is unsafe or hurtful to another </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reach out to isolated peers, offer support </li></ul><ul><li>See / </li></ul>
    24. 25. <ul><li>Having a close friend and being liked decreases likelihood of victimization </li></ul><ul><li>Friends can buffer against negative effects of bullying </li></ul>Hodges, Boivin, Vitaro, and Bukowski (1999); Hodges, Malone, & Perry (1997); Pellegrini, Bartini, and Brooks (1999)
    25. 26. <ul><li>Teach responsible use </li></ul><ul><li>of technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written communication – can be traced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only communicate things that you would be OK about your parents seeing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow rules (no Facebook under age of 13) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beware of anonymous sites like Formspring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the “off” switch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not respond to upsetting communications </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    26. 27. <ul><li>Supervise and limit activities (no 24/7) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have computers in common areas (not in bedroom) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know child’s password </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be friend on Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring cell phones, computers to parents’ room to charge overnight </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider contracts for examples </li></ul>
    27. 28. <ul><li>FROM THE MOUTHS OF YOUTH 24 </li></ul><ul><li>Listen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Tell me what happened” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Empathize with feeling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ That must have been very scary for you” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Take it seriously </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not minimize or trivialize </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work with child to problem-solve </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple responses like “just ignore it,” “give him a good whack” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work in partnership with school! </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up </li></ul>
    28. 29. <ul><li>Focus on the behavior (not on the child as a person) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apply logical, meaningful consequences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work with school to develop plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase empathy and perspective taking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teach problem-solving to manage emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive restructuring for problematic attributions (e.g., “He deserved it;” “Now they know who is in charge”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess for other problems (e.g., drugs, suicidality) </li></ul></ul>
    29. 30. <ul><li>Try to keep emotions in check and avoid placing blame when contacting school </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the situation, its effect, your child’s concern, and your desire to work with the school to address the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Ask what you can do to help </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up and document </li></ul>
    30. 31. <ul><li>Local Resources for Families </li></ul><ul><li>Catholic Charities – 218-1400 </li></ul><ul><li>Child & Adolescent Treatment Services Intake – 835-7807 </li></ul><ul><li>Child & Family Services – 842-750 </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention Focus/Teen Focus – 884-3256 </li></ul><ul><li>Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol & Substance Abuse – 831-2298 </li></ul><ul><li>Mental Health Association of Erie County – 886-1242 </li></ul><ul><li>Referrals for Students in Crisis </li></ul><ul><li>1-800-273-TALK (Suicide Lifeline) </li></ul><ul><li>1-866-4-U-Trevor (LGBTQ Youth Suicide Hotline) </li></ul><ul><li>716-834-1144 or 1-877-KIDS-400 (Buffalo Crisis Services Hotline) </li></ul>
    31. 32. <ul><li>Thank you for your attention and interest! </li></ul><ul><li>For more resources, please visit us at </li></ul><ul><li>To make the best use of our time, please make sure your question is… </li></ul><ul><li>A question, rather than a statement </li></ul><ul><li>Something I am likely to be able to answer </li></ul>