Were you ever bullied yourself? Do you remember that sick feeling in your stomach? Perhaps you were the bully.
I have written about cyber-bullying in the past, an issue that was not a concern when raising our first two children, but the internet was much more prevalent in the informative years of our third child and the cyber world was new to most of us.
But, here we are, halfway through the year 2013 and old fashioned bullying is making a comeback in the lives of our kids.
Bullying can be verbal, social or physical.
Verbal includes: name calling, inappropriate sexual comments, threatening harm, teasing and taunting.
Social includes: embarrassing someone in public, telling rumors, excluding someone on purpose, telling others to exclude someone.
Physical includes: Hitting, spitting, punching, slapping, breaking their property, tripping, pushing, and hand gestures.
Federally collected data on youth bullying:
“The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that, nationwide, 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.”
Parents, teachers and other caring adults can all play a role when it comes to bullying.
Know the Signs of Bullying
-Lost or broken jewelry or electronics
-Feeling or faking sickness
-Change in eating habits
Is Your Kid the Bully?
-Getting into fights
-Has friends that are bully others
-Doesn’t accept responsibility
-Are overly competitive
-Put an unusual amount of importance on “being popular”
-Have unexplained money or property
Discuss bullying and how it feels to witness it happen to others. Many kids don’t know what is, and what is not, considered bullying.
Joking and playing around are one thing, but bullying needs to be reported before it escalates into physical violence.
Teach your children to stand up for themselves and the different ways to deal with a bully:
-Use humor with the bully.
-It is okay to say, “Stop” to a bully
-It is okay to walk away from a bully.
If your child is afraid, you have a real problem on your hands and this needs to be dealt with, swiftly and firmly.
Talk to your kids about school:
-Did you have a good day?
-Do you have any homework?
-Who do you sit with at lunch?
There is no federal law regarding bullying, but several states do, including Florida. The Sunshine State does have laws listing bullying as well as cyberbullying. Bullying is a series matter! When bullying crosses the line with discrimnatroy harassment, federals may then apply.
Those who know me, know I truly believe you are partners with your school staff when it comes to raising your children. Our children spend a large amount of their waking hours under the influence of these “trusted strangers.”
Create a relationship with your kid’s teachers, school staff and even their bus drivers by saying, “Hello.” Walk your kids to the bus stop, visit the school at scheduled “open houses” or PTA or PTO meetings. Request a conference with your child’s teacher. I once requested a conference with all six of my oldest daughter’s teachers, at the same time, when she was in high school… but that is a story for another day.
Talk to your kids about this increasing danger. Were you ever bullied yourself? Do you remember that sick feeling in your stomach? Perhaps you were the bully; do you want your child to be a victim of harrassment or embarrassed they way you may have made others feel when you were the bully?
It is difficult for many of us to remember our own youth, and often with good reason. Help your children develop fond memories of their youth, and encouraging them to help eliminate bullying will teach them to help others, too.