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Warning Signs of Bullying - Is Your Child A Victim or The Bully
Bullying At School
Bullying is not fun. Unfortunately it happens in most schools. In fact, 1 out of 4 children will be bullied this month, a statistic taken from the book "Taking the Bully By the Horns". This empowering book is written by Dr. Jay Carter, and Kathy Knoll, plus others.
Why do kids bully other kids? Most of the time they want to impress their friends, or look tough in front of a group. Bullying can be in the form of emotional, verbal or physical abuse. The main goal is to gain some type of control over the victim. The victim usually senses some type of intimidation. According to Wikipedia, "bullying behavior may include name calling, verbal or written abuse, exclusion from activities, exclusion from social situations, physical abuse, or coercion." When I was in elementary school, for example, I was in the fifth grade and I was bullied by a boy in the sixth grade. He used to pull my hair and call me "fat girl". It was very traumatic for me. I remember I used to run to the girl's bathroom during lunch after he called me these types of names, and I would cry until the bell rang.
Bullying Signs and Symptoms
If you feel your child is bullied at school, at daycare, at church, or any other event where kids congregate, look for signs and symptoms that he or she is bullied. Your child may start to withdraw from social events. She may say she is sick and doesn't want to go to school when there are no physical signs of illness. She may lose interest in playing with friends. She may show a loss of self-esteem.
In many cases the abuse is not physical. Of course, a black eye or a bruise should warrant a talk about bullying. However, many cases of abuse involve teasing, humiliation, exclusion, insulting, gossiping and other verbal and emotional abuse. In most cases the bully experienced these same abuses and is now doing to others what others once did to him or her. Bullying by one person to another or even one group towards an individual or group can last for a day, days, a week, a month or longer. This vicious cycle can continue until there is some type of intervention or climax. Of course, the best solution is intervention and resolution prior to a climax. In the United States, the Columbine incident in Colorado in April of 1999 ended in violence and part of the issue involved bullying at the high school level.
Intervention - Ways Parents Can Help Their Children
Parents can look to signs and symptoms of bullying. If you feel your child is a victim, there are ways to begin to deal with the bullying. A parent need to listen to the child. If he is trying to tell you about an issue, stop, sit down and listen. Listen first, then ask questions, Who is bullying you? Where are they bullying you at? If it's on the playground, contact the school, if it's on the school bus, talk to the bus driver. Find out how long the bullying has been going on and document what he or she has told you. If there is physical abuse document that and take pictures of bruises. If officials are not resolving the issue, try talking to the bully's parents. Some parents will react to this approach positively and some negatively especially if they don't feel like their child has bully tendencies at home and they may not know the child is a bully outside the home.
Also speak to your child about how to avoid a bullying situation. If a bully begins to harass him or her, direct them to find a teacher or an authority figure. Your child may also want to try to walk with a group or stay in a direct area where a teacher is easily available to them. Together, the parent and child can work together to eliminate bullying. The best way is to keep open communication with your child so that they can feel like they can come to you if they have a bullying issue.
Is Your Child the Bully?
If you suspect your child is a bully at school what should you do? In most cases, a bully was a victim of a prior bully. Talk to your child about his or choices and get them to see that positive behavior is acceptable and negative behavior is not. They need to have their self-esteem turned around. They need to know that if they have a positive sense of who they are, then they won't need to get that feeling of power and control by abusing others. Seek out resources, including, "Taking the Bully by the Horns",
Children need to learn at an early age that their actions will have consequences. Negative actions having negative consequences. They must learn to take responsibility for these actions. And to know how one "seemingly" little thing you do can affect so many so greatly... They need to learn and experience respect, caring and love both for themselves and others. We all need to work together on solving these problems.
Violence is an extreme form of "bullying." A worse case scenario. Most of the time these kids started out being picked on themselves. In my book we call this the "BULLY CYCLE." Bullies creating more bullies. Becoming a bully as a means of protecting yourself (or so you think) ... hoping if you are the one causing the pain, you will never again have to experience it yourself. They feel so bad about themselves and think that controlling someone else will make them feel better or help distract from their own problems.
Children today feel numb ... some have been bullied to the point of feeling nothing. They are withdrawn and hopeless. If all kids could understand how to accept themselves and know that they're "OK", there wouldn't have to be any "Bullies" or "Victims".
This book helps parents, teachers and children give kids the skills they need to deal with BULLIES and maintain healthy SELF-ESTEEM. It is intended to help both the bullies and the victims feel good about themselves, thereby lessening the recent violence we've experienced in our schools.
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