Bullying at School: What can you do if your child is the target of a bully?
What can you do if your child is being bullied at school?
Bullying is an epidemic these days. Kids can be wonderful, but they can also me merciless and cruel, and if your child is being bullied, it can be a traumatic experience that they may never recover from.
As a young man, like many, I was the subject of some bullying at school, and now that I am an adult, my own son has been the victim of bullying.
What can be done to stop bullying by parents? What resources can we take to help our children out?
I know the last thing I wanted when I was a child was for my parents to intervene. I felt it would only make matters worse. But these days, I realize that is not true. As an adult and a parent we have to take action and keep our children safe and secure. I know I want to do whatever I can to keep my children from facing the effects of bullying, and I am sure you are the same.
Bullying is a huge problem and one that may be getting worse instead of better. If you have seen the film Bully, which I have linked and talk more about below, it is flat out shocking how bad some children can get when there are no adults around.
Bullying and cyber-bullying are a huge and important issue, and discovering the things that can be done to prevent these are a very important issue, and what I have striven to learn, and would like to share with you here.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior that is done from someone in a position of power and strength against a weaker, smaller or powerless individual.
It is often referenced to children who bully other children. But this does not always need to be the case. In my time the Navy, there was always some hazing. Most of it was in good spirits and never meant to degrade or demean anyone, but the line was surely crossed from time to time.
This is probably the case in many organizations. A little bit of hazing is one thing, but if it hurts someone else, regardless of intention, it is bullying. Recently, this has been in the news with this case in Miami.
Yup, even big tough football players. Guys who hit each other for a living, are subject to bullying.
When a 24 year old, 280 pound NFL Offensive lineman can quit his job because of being bullied, how can your child be able to handle it alone?
The answer is that they cannot. At least not effectively and properly.
The attitude of "kids will be kids" does not work when it comes to bullying. When that is allowed, you are doing a disservice to both the bully AND the bullied. The bully gets a lesson that they can treat others shabbily and get away with it and the bullied will get scars they may carry for the rest of their lives.
SO, let’s get back to the question. Bullying does not always mean with just kids. But for the rest of this article, that is what I will be talking about.
==>>Stopbullying.gov A resource to find out more about stopping bullying
An important movie all parents, children and school administrators should watch.
I cannot say enough about this movie.
Although it has some foul language, and was given a wide theater release of an R rating due to some of the language that the children being filmed use, as well as some of the violence that the children displayed toward other children it is something that all parents should watch with their kids.
This film is graphic and realistic. If the language bothers, you, below is the PG-13 version, cleaned up a bit for the consumption of younger kids.
This is a stark and brutal film, but it really showcases how nasty children can be and how clueless some of the school administrators may be.
I cannot say enough about this movie. It should be required watching in schools. It should be required for every parent to watch this WITH their children.
It shows the stories of 5 children and with some hidden camera’s shows some bullys in action and how bad it can actually get for the children.
In fact, in one of the stories, the producers actually felt the child was in some actually danger of being hurt, so they pulled the tapes and showed it to the parents and school administrators so that immediate action could be taken to help the child.
This movie pulls no punches. It is realistic and graphic. It should be a catalyst to spark serious conversation with your child. Whether they are a witness, a bully themselves, or are being bullied, this movie should show them how bad it can be and hopefully help them to see the proper ways of treating their peers without resorting to bully tactics.
A must see film!
The Types of Bullying:
There are 5 different types of bullying. None of these are really more severe than others. Physical bullying may seem to be the “worst” at first glance, but the worst scars of bullying are internal ones, and the outward manifestations, while important, are not as important as the hurt that goes on inside a child.
Physical: Hitting. Biting. Kicking. Punching. Scratching. Tripping. Breaking property. All of this can be physical bullying. It can be pretty darn brutal and nasty.
Verbal: Racist, sexist and homophobic insults. Name Calling. Insults. Intimidation. Verbal abuse. All of these can be used as weapons that cut deeper than a sword in your child’s psyche.
Covert Bullying: This is the stuff that is done behind a child’s back. This may be even worse for your child, because they have no way of knowing “who” it is that is doing the bullying. This may make it seem like the world is against them, when it may only be a single, or handful of bullies.
Covert bullying includes things like:
-nasty notes left for the child to find
-lies and/or rumors about the child spread
-mimicking of the child
-intentionally damaging a child’s reputation and/or social standing
-working to embarrass or humiliate the child
Cyberbullying: Like covert bullying this one can often be worse, because it is so hard to combat, and it can make the child feel like, “the whole world” is against them, rather than just a handful of nasty kids.
This includes any form of bullying that takes place over technological devices. This can be anything from nasty texts, to social media harassment, to websites created to degrade, defame or demean a child.
Hazing: When it comes to children, hazing is bullying –plain and simple. Children are simply too young to really understand the nuances of when gentle teasing is mutual back-and-forth and when it is hurtful. Even adults can overstep the boundaries of hazing and “go too far” way too easily.
==>>Welcoming Schools Site to help schools and parents create a better environment for children in grades K-5 and stop bullying.
Resources for preventing bullying
Bullying is something that needs to be combated. Below are some good resources to both help you understand more about the phenomena of bullying, and therefore give you a means to help and protect your children, as well as some tools to help educate your own children on bullying, regardless of age.
Your child may not be bullied. They may not be A BULLY. But they still might be sitting aside and letting a bully operate.
Peer pressure is a wonderful thing, and it works on bullies too!
This simple book is important because it helps children find out ways that THEY can help their peers to stop bullying.
Bullying is not just for smaller kids. Teens get bullied too, and often do not yet have the emotional stability to deal well with the problems. A great book for teens
A great book to educate the very young about the dangers and bad side of bullying.
If enough children are taught about the dangers of bullying at a young enough age, peer pressure will keep the bully's in line.
What are the chances YOUR child has been bullied?
If you wonder if YOUR child could be the recipient of bullying, the chances are actually pretty good that they are.
Pure "bullying" statistics show that 77 percent of children admit to having been the recipient of some sort of bullying at one time or another. This does not mean that they are mercilessly attacked all the time, but that they have at some point been singled out as the target of a bully.
77 percent. That is quite a huge number, and quite a shocking one, I think.
Technology, likely plays a big part of this equation. Just look at all the people online who "flame". WHen you do not have to be face to face with someone to insult and degrade them, it makes it seem easier, even though it is just as painful and hurtful for the child who receives the insult. Perhaps it is even worse, since the child may feel that, "the entire world" will see the insult and magnify the insult in their own minds.
The statistics say that 58% of children say they have been bullied online at least once, and had nasty things said specifically about them.
So the chances are pretty good your child has experienced some form of bullying. Hopefully they are not a constant and unrelenting target of a nasty bully, but regardless, there is a better than average chance that every child has been the recipient of some form of bullying.
Cyberbully: Words can hurt - An ABC family movie to watch with your kids
Cyberbullying is something that is foreign to parents. We know what it is, but it is something that we can never have experienced, living in a time before mobile devices were a commonplace part of the fabric of school and society.
This nice ABC family movie gives a great showcase on just how damaging this trend can be. It is a warning to parents and children alike and is a great show to watch with your children, if only for the open and honest discussions it can bring about.
The heartbreaking story of one girl and the effects that cyber-bullying has on her, her family and her friends.
In this modern, technological age, this is an important movie that parents should see with their children to both fully understand the concept of how nasty and hurtful this effect can be, but to also use it as a launching point for an open and frank discussion of cyberbullying with your child.