It’s not startling to hear of a child being afraid to go to school, or who deliberately misses the school bus to avoid a classmate who makes the trip miserable. It is in all probability fair to assume that in every school, and neighborhood there is at least one kid who makes each day a living nightmare for the other kids. Bullies have always presented themselves dating back to when our grandparents were young. During those times bullying others was simple and usually was limited to name calling or teasing. However those less violent attempts of hurting another have been replaced with a new generation of bullies whose actions are not temporary and can include force such as hitting, punching, and ridiculing.
All of us at some point have been bullied. We may have even bullied others to some degree. These incidents were perhaps not severe and resolved itself over time. Nonetheless, there are occasions when bullying takes place over a long period, possibly years. This is often the case in school, and in neighborhoods where the bully is always in close company with the victim.
Bullying is a willful, deliberate want to hurt another and is typically long term. It entails more than just poking fun at someone which is common for little kids. Bullying involves striking, punching, taunting, teasing to the point of ridiculing or putting down. Harassment can take different forms. Boy bullies tend to be more physical, while girl bullies mock, spread rumors, and seclude the victim from cliques. Parents who have had their child victimized know how testing the situation can be. Many times schools, teachers, or bus drivers may minimize the problem, or feel that it isn’t a main concern. Discussion with the parents of the bully may also be ineffective. These parents often become protective and stick up for their child. However insistent bullying should not be glossed over. Those who are mistreated are generally physically weak and have poor social skills. They also run the risk of suffering from depression and low self esteem. Those who continually bully are prone to maintain the pattern into adulthood and develop destructive behavior.
The key thing is for parents to try and resolve the problem. This can be difficult without the support of school officials, but it is achievable. Parents must first identify the problem. They may notice that their child is behaving differently. Due to embarrassment those who are bullied are likely to try and hide the problem. Parents need to recognize signs of bullying. These signs include a fear or avoidance of school, missing belongings, sleeping problems, or mysterious illnesses or stomachs pains that occur before it is time to go to school. Once the problem has been confirmed, the next step is getting the bullying to stop.
Ordinarily victims are bullied outside of their circle of friends. However there are rare incidents where the bullying occurs from the ring leader of a group. If the bullying is coming from a group that your child associates with regularly, encourage them to make new friends. Parents can help by arranging play dates at the home or getting the child involved in an extra curriculum activity that allows them to meet new people.
Parents can discuss ways that their child can avoid the bully. They would not want to overprotect their child, but rather talk about how they can protect themselves by staying in groups. Bullies tend to only strike when the victim is alone. Finding an alternate way home can be a solution to dealing with a neighborhood bully. Parents should also demonstrate the importance of trying to walk away without reacting. If the bullying has not become violent the child could practice walking away and ignoring the bully. When the bully realizes that they are not getting a response often times they become bored with the victim and move on. Remember, the bully’s purpose is to make the victim feel bad about their self.
If the bullying does become violent encourage the victim to try and get away without hitting and go to the nearest adult such as a teacher or bus driver. Although hitting back will only escalates the problem, parents should also inform their child that if an adult is not present, and the bully continues to hit, they may need to protect and defend themselves. Some parents may want to enroll their child in a self defense class. Violence should never be the solution to a problem, however knowing how to defend themselves will help if the situation should become bad. Classes of this nature may also help lift the child’s confidence and make them less likely to become a victim.
Parents should help their child to develop strong self-confidence. Bullies tend to pick on those who show signs of vulnerability. To minimize your child’s odds of being a victim teach them to hold their head high and walk with assurance. Even if your child is timid encourage them to look others in the eye when spoken too. Bullies prey on the helpless. However, if they sense that your child is strong willed and a fighter, they will lose interest.
In conditions where the bully is unrelenting, parents should fight to get support from school officials. Often school’s will investigate complaints and work to resolve the issue. However in circumstances where officials are not responding, or do not care about the problem, parents should not give up in trying to gain backing. Call the principal, superintendent, etc. Be persistent. Bullying can be a serious problem and no child deserves to be constantly ridiculed