It’s true that no parent wants to hear that their child is being bullied in school. We trust schools to keep our children safe and free from harm but this is not always possible. So, we must arm our children with the knowledge that they need to recognize and deal with these difficult situations.
What is bullying? Bullying is described as any behavior that is harmful to another person. This can be manifested in a wide variety of ways, through physical, emotional, sexual, or electronic/cyber bullying.
- • Physical harm is any form of hitting, punching, kicking, or pranks such as “wedgies” and “swirlies”.
- • Emotional harm includes social isolation, gossiping, teasing, and name calling. This usually involves acting as the victim’s friends and then taunting them or pressuring them into doing things they don’t want to do.
- • Sexual harm includes spanking or grabbing someone in an inappropriate, uncomfortable and embarrassing manner.
- • Electronic or cyber bullying can involve prank phone calls, mean or threatening text messages, or rumor spreading on the internet usually via facebook or myspace.
How common is it? Bullying has been on a steady increase over the years, jumping from 30% to 77% of children saying that they are victims of bullying at school, an alarming increase in only 6 years. As some states begin to lobby for tougher enforcements on the anti-bullying laws it is our job as parents to better prepare our children to deal with this epidemic.
So what can we do? We can give our children the tools that they need to deal with these situations. As a parent one of the most important things you can give your child is self-confidence. With a belief in themselves your child is more likely to be able to stand up to that bully and even make the bullying less affective.
Where do I start? Start by talking with your child and identify what form of bullying they are victims of, who it is doing it and find out what affect it is having on your child. Open communication is key to having a safe and healthy child.
Statistics taken from “Bullying Behaviors among US Youth: Prevalence and Association with Psychosocial Adjustment” 2001. ABC News report November 2007.
What you can do to help
Here are 5 things that you can do to help your children prevent, identify, and deal with bullying:
1. Talk about it, in the same way that you teach your children their alphabet before they learn to read. You want to send your children to school with the knowledge of what bullying is, what it looks like, and how to deal with these tough situations.
2. Keep communication open and listen to your children when they tell you about their day. Remember the children that they don’t seem to get along with and note if they seem to begin to have problems with kids they are normally friends with. Keep in mind that boys tend to bully though physical acts such as punching, kicking, and ganging up on one boy. Girls are quieter about it, acting like friends and then convincing the girl to do things that they wouldn’t normally do or by name calling or rumor spreading. Remember all signs of bullying are not physical and often will not be seen especially when it comes to girls.
3. Role play: practice makes perfect! The same is true when you are getting ready to read in front of the class or in dealing with difficult situations. Take a situation that you have seen in a movie or a situation your child tells you about in school and act it out. Your child will feel more comfortable pretending you’re a bully and knowing what they can do and say if they come across the situation in school, on the bus, or during afterschool activities.
4. Get to know your children’s friends and their parents. As much as your children will find this embarrassing, taking that small amount of time to meet their friends and parents will give you the chance to get the feeling of what kind of people they are associating with and if you approve of them.
5. Speak up! Tell their teachers, talk to the principal, and inform other parents that you having bullying problems with a specific child. Chances are your child isn’t the only victim and parents and their children are more likely to come forward if they don’t think that they are alone on this and less likely to just “Let it go” if they know that this has happened before.
Enroll your child today and start them on their journey to be a leader in life. Stop in, or call today at our Corona Del Mar Location conveniently located near you and schedule a complimentary trial class! Your child’s future is through our door!