Bullying and What Parents Need to Know!Thinking back to a time when you were a student in school, you might remember seeing other students and friends being bullied. Maybe you were bullied or you were the bully to other students. Maybe you thought it was no big deal. Bullying has not gone away. The difference being that now we know how harmful bullying can be. It is always wrong and hurtful to others and can lead to many serious problems for those students who are bullied, for students who see the bullying going on and for those students who do the bullying. With the beginning of the school year fast approaching, the following can be some information to use to help you figure out whether your child is being bullied or is bullying and what you can do about it.
Bullying among children is a repeated act that is meant to control or hurt another child or a group of children. A child can become a bully when they have more"power"than the victim. This power can come from physical size, age, popularity, gender or strength. Bullying is something that children learn when they are as young as two years old both from adults and other kids.
There are two types of bullying. Direct bullying is the most obvious and consists of pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, tripping, destroying belongings, name calling and teasing. Indirect bullying is harder to identify and harder to stop and it consists of leaving someone out of a group, spreading rumors, and cyber-bullying. Boys are more likely to be physically bullied by peers, while girls are more likely to be bullied through rumor spreading and social exclusion. But that's not always the case. Both forms of bullying are serious and require action by adults.
A child who is being bullied may have few or no friends, feel alone and sad or might complain about feeling sick a lot. The child may not want to go to school, cry easily, have mood swings, and not interact well with other children. If your child is being bullied, do make sure that your child knows that being bullied is not his or her fault. Talk to the school or teacher about ways to keep your child safe from bullying and talk with your child about ways to respond to bullies. Teach your child to be assertive but not aggressive and to report the bullying as soon as it happens. Seek counseling for your child if appropriate.
If your child is the bully, they won't have empathy for other kids or adults and will try to dominate or manipulate others. They like feeling powerful and being in control and get satisfaction from someone else's fears and pains. They are usually easily angered and impulsive and want to intimidate others. If your child bullies you need to tell your child clearly and firmly that bullying is NOT OK. If you are contacted by the school, as a parent, stay calm and try not to be defensive or angry. Decide what consequences for bullying should be and enforce them fairly and consistently. Work out a way for your child to make amends for the bullying and seek help or counseling if the bullying continues.
For more information you may contact the National Mental Health America Office at 1-800-969-6642 or log onto www.nmha.org.