Bullying Info for Friends & Family
First – why should you and why does New Choices, Inc. care about bullying? One, children who are bullied are suffering and the impact on them could be lifelong. Second – the impact on children who do the bullying can also be devastating and lifelong. And third – bullying in school is the first exercise of the use of abusive tactics to gain power & control over another person. This is the same dynamic that exists in a domestically violent relationship. When children learn that using abuse to gain power over (ie: become popular by bullying) or control others they learn that it works and therefore have no reason to discontinue that behavior.
Helping the Bullied Child
Helping a child who is being bullied is summed up in two very simple steps:
- Stop and listen to the child. Take complaints & tales of bullying seriously.
Generally, they will expect that you won’t believe them or are lying or being dramatic or tragic – but no matter what, believe them, console them and take it seriously.
- Be responsive. Take the appropriate steps to intervene.
There are many signs that a child is being bullied. Some signs to look for:
- The child comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books or other belongings.
- The child has unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches.
- The child seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus or taking part in organized activities with peers.
- The child appears sad, moody, teary or depressed when he or she comes home.
- The child frequently appears anxious and/or suffers from low self-esteem.
If you suspect your child is being bullied, remember to support your child, inform others and take action.
- First, focus on your child. Be supportive and gather information about the bullying. Tell your child you are concerned about him or her and ask questions.
- Contact your child's teacher and/or principal. He or she will probably be in the best position to understand the relationships between your child and other peers at school. Ask the teacher to talk to other adults who interact with your child at school to see if they have observed students bullying your child.
- If you know your child is being bullied, take quick action. There is nothing worse than doing nothing, and bullying can have serious effects.
If, after talking with your child and staff at his or her school, you don't believe your child is being bullied, be alert to other possible problems your child may be having. Share your concerns with a counselor at your child's school.
Just listening to a child tell their story is great - but not enough. They need your help. They are in a power-imbalanced situation and have very few freedoms & options available to help themselves. If you are unsure of how to help, please refer to any of the resources below or give us a call at 937-498-7261.
Help the Kid Who is the Bully
Many children engage in bullying everyday. Although each child is different, those who bully other young people do share some common characteristics. Here are some things to look for:
Common Characteristics of Children Who Bully
- Impulsive, Hot-headed, Dominant
- Dramatic, Competitive, Charismatic, “Popular”
- Easily Frustrated, Demanding that Others Do What They Want
- Lacks Empathy
- Have Difficulty Following Rules
- Views Violence or Being Cruel or in a Positive Way
- Boys who bully tend to be physically stronger than other children.
There is no single cause of bullying among children there are a host of different factors that can place a child at risk for bullying his or her peers. It has been found that children who bully are more likely than their non-bullying peers to come from homes with certain characteristics.
Family Risk Factors for Bullying
- A lack of warmth and involvement on the part of parents
- Overly permissive parenting (including a lack of limits for children's behavior)
- A lack of supervision by parents
- Harsh, physical discipline; and
- Bullying incidences at home.
Bullying and Other Violent and/or Antisocial Behaviors
Research shows that bullying can be a sign of other serious antisocial and/or violent behavior. Children who frequently bully their peers are more likely than others to:
- Get into frequent fights
- Be injured in a fight
- Vandalize or steal property
- Drink alcohol
- Be truant from school
- Drop out of school; and
- Carry a weapon
For more information, read Stop Bullying Now - What Adults Can Do
Cyberbullying: KidsHealth - Cyberbullying
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