Bullying: What Parents Can Do
To bully means to single someone out for deliberate and repeated harassment. There is an imbalance of power between the child being bullied and the bully. Many children have behaviors that could feel like bullying, but a child that is the target/victim of a bully will feel powerless to help themselves or stand up to the bully.
BULLYING CAN BE:
VERBAL: name-calling, threatening, teasing, taunting
PHYSICAL: hitting, taking or damaging possessions, making someone do things he or she doesn't want to do, pushing and shoving
EMOTIONAL: spreading rumors, ignoring or excluding others, making someone uncomfortable or scared
BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS can bully, although most bullying is done by boys. Boys usually prefer swift and effective physical aggression. Girls tend to favor verbal and emotional intimidation or humiliation as bullying tools.
WHO GETS BULLIED?
Kids who tend to get bullied are not necessarily children who are overweight, wear glasses or braces, or speak with an accent. What victims do have in common is emotional vulnerability! In classroom counseling lessons, we refer to this as someone who will easily give up their "power". (Ask your child what this means)
They are also the ones who are less outgoing, the ones who prefer to stand back and watch before joining in, or lack the social skills to enter into active play or group situations. These less assertive children are often looked on by their aggressive peers as potential "targets". (ask about this as well:)
SO... what can you do as a parent?
* Some kids will feel traumatized and ashamed; with others, bullying's effects will be minimal and short-lived. Take your cues from your child's reaction. Children become victims because they lack the skills to stop the bullying on their own, so rushing in to help may make your child feel even more inadequate.
*Discuss the problem with your children. Help them identify their feelings and explore what they can do instead of remaining a victim. Explain that bullies can't exist without victims.
*Teach the assertive responses that enable kids to deprive bullies of the "reward" of humiliating others. Using role-play dialogue and acting out various scenarios, rehearse with your child how to respond to being bullied.
*Encourage your child to make friends and socialize at school. The most severe bullying is directed at loners. Children who have good social skills and a network of friends tend not to be bullied.
*Inform school officials immediately about any bullying. Keep a written record of times, dates, names, and circumstances to show the harassment has a pattern. Experts recommend reporting all incidents of bullying, although you should always respond in the way you feel is appropriate. Informing the school staff is important in creating a safe school environment.
information obtained from our curriculum through: Sunburst Visual Media