Bullying: A Challenge to You and Your Children
Parents need to prepare their children to handle situations at school. One such situation is bullying. It has been observed that this problem is rampant during the initial schooling years and decreases as the children go to the higher classes.
Bullying is a needless, aggressive behavior, usually among school aged children, which involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It is the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something. In the long run, bullying harms the bully and the victim.
Bully is some one who lacks empathy and habitually intimidates another person who is smaller or weaker than him. A bullied child becomes victim of verbal and some times even physical aggression. A bully can also go to the extent of alienating the victim in the class. Children who are bullied suffer mental trauma. It may also affect their health. Among girls, bullying is through verbal abuse in most of the cases. But among boys it can get physical. There have been extreme cases where some children have committed suicide. Shocking, but true!
Some Bullying Victims Have Committed Suicide
Here are some things that you as a parent can do to help:
1) You should have a loving relationship with your child at home. By doing so, you are sending a message to the child that you are there for the child and it can look up to you for any assistance. This is very important. If your child does not even tell you that it is being bullied at school, there is nothing much you can do.
2) You should engage your child in physical activities and should make sure that it is physically strong. You should also encourage the child to pray daily and should get good books for the child to read. These habits go a long way in making the child mentally strong. A physically strong and mentally tough child is less likely to be bullied. A child brought up with such good habits will not bully others.
3) Even before the child starts going to school, you should speak good things about school. You should tell the child as to how it will get to meet other children, how they all can have fun, etc. You should some how ensure that the child is friendly and lovable. Chances of a friendly and cheerful person getting bullied are much less. Bullies tend to target loners.
Be Pro Active
4) You should pro actively educate the child about bullying. Bullying meaning should be known to your child. Also you should be sensitive to signs of a victim. Bullied children normally tend to avoid going to school. They may also tend to become scared and reserved especially on Sunday evenings when they remember that they have to go to school the next day.
5) In cases where the child reports that it is being bullied, you should listen to the entire story. Never assume that there is no bullying in schools. Once you are convinced that the child is a victim, you should ask the child to report this to the teacher. You should also tell the child that it should be confident. Some specific techniques like maintaining eye contact, speaking loudly and clearly, etc should be taught. You should also encourage the child to avoid physical encounters as far as possible.
Is your child a victim of bullying?
6) Regular meetings with teachers help you in getting an idea as to how your child is getting along with others in the school.
7) If you are a parent of a bully, you should teach your child about values like empathy. You should tell your child that by being a bully, it will be hated by its class mates. You should tell stories of great people who would have used their strength to help others. You should explain the advantages of winning love and friendship of its class mates. You may encourage the child to invite its classmates for birthday celebrations. You should treat the child with kindness as a bully is found to be struggling with some kind of emotional loss.
Bullying cannot be avoided at school. But it can definitely be handled by the child effectively. You as a parent can definitely help in this with your loving support.
Here are some books which give useful inputs related to this topic:
1) Title: Bullyproof Your Child For Life: Protect your child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good. Authors : Joel Haber and Jenna Glatzer.
2) Title: Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools (The Guilford Practical Intervention in School Series). Authors: Susan M. Swearer PhD, Dorothy L. Espelage PhD and Scott A. Napolitano PhD.
Some Bullying Statistics
- More than one out of every five (20.8%) students (reported) are victims of bullying. There may be unreported cases.
- More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the victim.
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.
- The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%).
- Among high school students, 15.5% are cyberbullied and 20.2% are bullied on school property.
- Among middle school students, 24% are cyberbullied and 45% are bullied on school property.
- The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetimes have nearly doubled (18% to 34%) from 2007-2016.
- 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline.
- The National Autistic Society reports that 40 percent of children with autism and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying.
- Bully is someone who lacks empathy.
- Have a loving relationship with your child at home.
- Engage your child in physical activities.
- Do your best to ensure that your child is friendly and lovable.
- Meet your child's teachers regularly.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.— Frederick Douglass
Unless and until our society recognizes cyber bullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent victims will continue.— Anna Maria Chavez