How to Deal with a Bully.
Bullying is on the increase again. Nearly half of school kids report being a victim of bullies at one time and about 1 in 7 kids report being bullied on a daily basis.
Who is a bully?
Any person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who appear weaker. (We are only talking about school yard bullies. Congress, etc. are another matter all together)
A bully can be either male or female.
A bully will turn a wait at the bus stop, a trip to the playground, or a bicycle ride into a nightmare that can cause lasting damage.
What is the difference between teasing and bullying?
Teasing is usually playful and friendly with both kids finding it a little, (or a lot) funny.
Bullying is purposefully harassing someone physically, verbally, or psychologically. It can be in the form of hitting, pushing, name-calling, threats, teasing, and extorting money or something valued.
Sometimes a bully will shun others and spread rumors about them. Bullies often use email, chat rooms, IM's, social networking websites, and text messages to ruthlessly persecute others or to hurt their feelings.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your child is being bullied. Unless there is some visible physical harm, or your child tells you about an incident, the signs can be subtle.
However there are some warning signs.
Be alert for any anxious or different behavior, poor sleeping habits, or not doing something that is normally fun for them.
Often children will avoid certain normal situations, like taking the school bus.
What you can do:
Talk to your children about bullying. Review some of the tactics mentioned below. Be available to listen if they should bring it up. Let them know that it is OK to tell the teacher, or other trusted adult about it.
How to help your child when they run into a bully.
Tell them to not keep it a secret.
They can tell someone they trust. A teacher, other parent, trusted older sibling, or principals. If that person doesn't do anything, tell someone else. Keep reporting it until it is fixed.
Ask them to be Brave. Don't let the bully see you upset. It might encourage increased harassment. Walk away and ignore any bully.
Tell them not to get mad at the bully. Often, that is the reaction they are looking for to increase the harassment.
Tell them to avoid areas that are likely to be trouble spots. For example, any place where there are no teachers or other adults.
Try to remove any incentive, like lunch money or thing of value that the bully might want to take away.
Have them try to be with people and friends they trust who will also stand up and help defend them.
There are many resources available to help your family with this problem. My profile has a link to the resource that was a great help to me.
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