What is Bullying Exactly?
Bullying is a type of violent or aggressive behavior either physical or psychological that is intentionally trying to hurt the victim in some way. It can be persistent and threatening behavior in which there is an imbalance of power and dominance that is forced upon the victim. Criteria that you should look out for are as follows:
– The abuse or mistreatment of the victim must be intentional
– The abuse has victim fearing for their safety
– The abuse must occur numerous times before it is considered bullying- but not all are in agreement with this some believe even one harmful attack is enough to label it as bullying
– There must be some kind of imbalance in power
Are Our Children Involved in Bullying?
The amounts vary on how often our children are involved in bullying. Some studies that have been done have shown that 15 to 20 percent of American students have been or are presently being bullied by other students. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of youth in the United States, which is about 5.7 million, have been involved with bullying either as a victim, bully or both.
There was a national survey done in which 13% of children in grades 6-10 admitted to being victims of bullying and also bullying others. More than 3.2 million children are victims of moderate to serious abuse each year and another 3.7 million are involved in bullying according to the American Medical Association. Students of different grades have been bullied or harassed on school property due to ethnicity, race, disability, sexual orientation, and religion about one-fourth of students are dealing with this type of abuse. About 74% of children between the ages of 8-11 have said that bullying is something that does occur at their schools on a daily basis. It is estimated that every 7 minutes a child is being bullied on a school playground.
Bullying When & Where Does it Happen?
Bullying begins as early as age 3 upwards; in late elementary school it increases and seems to peek in middle school then it decreases in high school years. The physical severity could decrease with age. The bullies usually start to look for their victims in the beginning of the school year. They seem to zero in on children that seem like easy targets both emotionally and physically.
Most bullying occurs most often on the school property not on the walk to and from school as one might think. Bullying tends to occur in areas where there is little to no adult supervision.
It is 2 to 3 times more likely to occur in a place or area that does not have any anti-bullying rules in play. This could also include teachers and other students refusing to acknowledge the bullying behavior were they are basically indifferent to it.
This is one of societies problems as an overall whole we are becoming less sensitized to what is going on around us more often taking the “I don’t want to get involved mentality.” In situations that are dealing with bullies this type of attitude is not going to help prevent bullying in our schools.
Keeping the Bullies Out of Our Schools
Bullying is occurring not only in our schools but in our neighbourhoods, city parks, churches and places of work. Popular places for bullying to occur is in such places as stairwells, hidden areas, between buildings, parking lots, cafeteria, buses, walks to and from school as well as right in the classroom itself. We must learn to keep our eyes and ears open and watch out for the signs of bullying that our own children could be victims of.
Learn to become more involved with what is happening right within your own neighbourhood. Perhaps get involved with school programs at your child’s school to help spread the message that bullying will not be tolerated. You can help to keep our schools safe and getting involved in programs to encourage anti-bullying within our schools.
Remember there is strength in numbers if you can get people to help support anti-bullying in our schools it can send a strong message to those that are doing the bullying. Letting them know that we won’t stand back and let them wreak havoc in and around our schools by bullying our children. Sending a message out there into the public domain letting the bullies know they are not welcome in our schools.
We must learn to take positive steps in making sure that there is strict anti-bullying rules set in-place within our schools. If there is serious punishment for bullying perhaps those who are thinking about doing it may have second thoughts due to the punishment they could receive themselves if caught. But by ignoring that it does exist will not help to solve this serious problem that is infecting our school systems in alarming numbers.
Descriptions of Different Types of Bullying
– Calling victim nasty hurtful names
-Talking or whispering behind victim’s back making them feel very uncomfortable
– Constantly teasing the victim and making fun of them
– Racist name calling or remarks
– Making threats towards the victim or intimidating them
– Sending negative text messages to victim
– Leaving nasty messages on person’s voice mail
– Calling victim’s phone or cell phone and saying nasty and threatening things to victim
Indirect Bullying Actions Social/Relations.
– Deliberately destroying the status of victim within peer group
– Getting victim’s best friend to turn against them through manipulation
– Embarrassing and humiliating victim
– Excluding victim from a group making them feel left out
– Stealing the victim’s girlfriend or boyfriend to hurt them
– Destroying the reputation of the victim possibly making up lies about them
– Making insults and threatening gestures towards the victim
– Passing notes around with nasty comments about the victim written on them,
– Giving them dirty looks and telling nasty cruel jokes about them
– Shoving victim in an embarrassing or hurtful way kicking
– Hitting, slapping, body slamming, or elbowing damaging or stealing the victims belongings
– Flushing the victim’s head in a toilet
– Keeping the victim restrained unable to move
– Pinching and punching
– Slamming the victim into his/her locker
– Spitting at or throwing food at victim
– Pulling the hair of the victim
Most direct and indirect forms of bullying can be or are interrelated often occurring together.
Why Our Children Keep Bullying a Secret
As parents we hate to think that our child may be suffering at the hands of some bully at school or that our child may be a bully. Either scenario is not one that we as parents want to have as a reality of our child’s life. All we can do as parents is to make sure that we show our child that they are loved and supported by their parents.
Making a point of having some good quality time with our children can make a big difference in their lives. Sometimes problems at home have a child feeling frustrated and angry; perhaps not getting enough positive attention at home. They may feel unloved or that no one really cares about them. They could be taking these pent up feelings and releasing them in the form of bullying another child at school.
The Secret World of Bullying
There is many parents in the world who have no idea that their child is involved in bullying either as a victim, bully or both. If a child is being bullied and does not tell their parents or authority figure such as a teacher is because they do not want to be further ostracized by being known to other students as a “tattle tail.”
Even if they are not the victim of the abuse they do not want to tell in fear of them becoming a victim too. Others may not tell or keep quiet about the bullying going on in their lives because they have seen others who did go to adults such as a teacher and told about the bullying but nothing was done to try and stop it.
So when children see others taking the risk of telling and then see it was all for nothing they themselves decide they will not attempt to tell. They rightly figure what is the point if nothing is done to stop it. Children also become very terrified of the thought of adults getting involved in the situation could make it ten times worse for them when the bully retaliates for the victim ratting him out so to speak.
Victim Feels Shame
When children are being bullied they often feel great shame in not being able to stand up for themselves against the bully or bullies. They do not want their parents to feel that they are wimps for not standing up to the bully.
Sometimes especially with boys they have a father or father figure in their lives that may tell them they should stand up and fight and be the tough guy. They want their father to think they are the tough guy he wants them to be so they fear him ever finding out that they are actually a victim of bullying.
We must be careful what we say and do around our children we as parents should not encourage our children to be or behave in a violent manner. We should also watch how we ourselves are behaving in front of our children.
If they see their father physically abusing their mother for example they could grow up with this idea that it is okay to hit others. We must be responsible for our actions because our children naturally look up to us.
Many young children want to emulate their parents in some way shape or form. We are usually the first heroes in their lives; so we should make sure we are behaving in a manner that heroes would especially while in the company of our children.
Children love there parents so much that they often will try to avoid causing any worry or upset to their parents if they can. So they know that their parents would be very upset to learn about their involvement with bullying so they tend to protect their parents of anything to do with the topic of bullying. Whether the child is a victim or a bully either one does not one this to come to light to their parents.
Is There Differences in Girl Bullies Compared to Boy Bullies?
It is found that both girls and boy bullies will use aggression or verbal bullying tactics such as the following: verbal threats, name calling, or publicly challenging the victim to a fight or challenging them to do something perhaps some kind of dare, stealing the victims possessions, playing dirty tricks. Even with all of this in common there is still some differences between them.
Characteristics of Girl Bullies
– Girls can be aggressive but they tend to prefer a more indirect or sneaky way of bullying
– They like to spread false rumors about their victim
– Damage victim’s reputation
– Try to get victim rejected by other peers
– Physical aggression is increasing dramatically with girl bullies
– Like to cause psychological pain to their victims
– Talk nasty about the sexual behavior of victim
– Laughing behind victims back
– Attacks often happen with in tightly knit groups making it more painful for victim
– Psychological bullying can leave long lasting scars
– Tend to bully in groups
Characteristics of Boy Bullies.
– They tend to be more physical and verbally abusive in a direct fashion
– They will bully boys and girls
– They seem to prefer more direct attacks of bullying
– They will also do emotional taunting as girls do
Teaching Our Children Better Ways
We really need to take a close look at ourselves and ask ourselves why is the numbers of our children being involved in violent behaviours such as bullying increasing everyday.
What are we as a society not doing right in showing or setting an example that is somehow having negative effects on our children and the way they are choosing to react to others.
The problems of bullying do not only happen within our school walls but they are all around us. What actions do we need to take to try and turn around the increasing numbers of bullying incidents that our children are involved in and highly likely we are not even aware of their involvement in them.
If we as a whole as a society are behaving badly how can we expect our children to behave better? Our children are much more exposed to many different levels of violence going on in our world today; they see forms of violence day in and day out especially with today’s technology showing them many graphic scenes. They are becoming more and more desensitizes to violence because they are seeing too much of it in the world they are living in.
We must try and start finding ways to guide our children towards more positive endeavors other than bullying.
What You Can Do When You Find Out That Your Child is Being Bullied
Below are some suggestions for you on ways for you to address the issue of your child being bullied at his/her school.
– First you should be thankful that you now know what is going on with your child
– Calling the bullies parents may not be a good idea as it will probably not stop the bullying
– Calmly discuss the bullying with your child have them keep a diary or bullying incidents
– Ask your child these questions- 1) who is involved 2) what was done and said to you 3) what usually happens before the bullying starts 4) get the names of the bystanders and what they did while the bullying was going on 5) where does it happen 6) when does it happen 7) was there any adults such as teachers there supervising 8) is there video cameras in that area of school 9) have they told anyone such as a teacher about the bullying 10) how long has the bullying been going on
– Take pictures of any physical wounds on your child due to bullying
– Ask your child to write down their thoughts and feelings about the bullying and when it happens
– Make sure to let your child know that it is normal to have feelings of fear, hurt, anger and embarrassment as well as shame about the bullying that is being done to them
– Explain to your child that the bully probably has a bad home life and is jealous of your child so that is why he could be bullying him/her
– Tell them to try and avoid the bully
– Tell them if the bully wants something of theirs just give it to them so they won’t risk getting hurt and then tell authorities of the incident
– Have them yell out loud whenever the bully is bothering them if the bully is hitting them have them shout out loud to the bully to stop hitting you others will hear and come to find out what is going on
– Have the school consider a no contact contract after they have agreed that your child is a victim of bullying at the school have the bully sign it agreeing to stay away from your child and not to make aggressive gestures at them
– Seek a restraining order
– Monitor your childs where abouts
– Most important keep the lines of communication open between you and your child