In this day and age, bullying is no longer a kid pushing around another kid on the playground, although that is still happening. It’s harassing, taunting, emotionally abusing and physically hurting another person to the point of doing irrevocable harm. We’ve all seen the mean girls fight videos on YouTube and read the news about the kids being shot or stabbed at school or teens committing suicide because they just can’t take it anymore. While bullying make still happen in schools across the country, its time it is no longer an accepted practice. Adults who are in charge need to step in and take care of the victim and address the issue with the perpetrators. Zero tolerance for any type of bullying needs to be practiced. Community service to the school teaches giving back and is a wonderful consequence when dealing with a bully.
An American Justice Department study shows 1 in 4 youths are bullied. Thirty percent (30%) of U.S. students in grades six through ten are involved in moderate or frequent bullying — as bullies, as victims, or as both. It really is enough of a problem for parents to start calling for action on the part of the schools their children and teens attend.
There are four types of bullying. It can be physical, verbal, emotional and cyber bullying. Bullying is defined as deliberate and hurtful behavior, usually repeated over a period of time. Bullying is almost always done to kids who are perceived to be more vulnerable than the bullies, or n the case of cyber bullies the anonymous factor leaves every child and teen vulnerable.
The fear of being harassed in school gets in the way of learning for your child and it may make going to school – or wherever the bully is - a miserable experience. Being bullied can make children feel lonely, unhappy and unsafe. Children who are being bullied may develop stomach aches, nightmares, nervousness and anxiety.
What Parents Can Do to Help Their Child Deal with a BullyIf you think your child is having problems with a bully at school or in your neighborhood, there are things you can do to help them. Here is a list of ten tips that have been known to help parents help their child deal with bullies and mean girls:
Be on your child's side. Send this clear message to them by taking everything they say about what has happened to them seriously. Tell your child that you are going to help and reassure them that you can do something about this bullying problem. In this way, your child will feel more confident that the problem is not theirs alone and will be better able to handle it with your help.
Do not allow your child to place the blame of the incident on themselves. Reassure them that it is not their fault. Victims will sometime turn the fault in on themselves; help your child place the blame where it belongs, directly on the bully.
While it is natural to want to protect your child by solving the problem for him, it will serve your child better if you teach him how to solve the problem himself. By learning the skills to stand up for himself, he can use them in other situations.
Ask your child how she has been dealing with the bullying, talk about what else can be done and discuss what actions you can both take to solve the problem. Reassure her you will consult her before taking any action.
There are two problems at play when your child is dealing with a bully. One, your child's protection is of the utmost importance and two, your child learning to be confident that they can take care of their problems is important as well for future incidents. If your child is being physically threatened, you have no choice but to let someone know. But if your child is not being physically threatened, talk to them about ways they can handle the situations they are being placed in. Role play different situations and things that can be said to a bully, like "Leave me alone." then walking away.
Ask your child if they can hang out with friends when they normally see a bully. There is safety in numbers.
Encourage your child to be active in hobbies and other community activities so that they do develop some good friendships.
Sometimes teachers don't get the full scope of the problem and you will have to meet with them and their superiors to discuss it. If your child or teen is being harassed, you may also want to call in the police.
Throw out all of your old thoughts about bullying. It is not a normal part of childhood. Your child does not need to toughen up. Bullying is violent behavior that should not be tolerated.