What Every Parent Needs to Know about Bullying

Information and Ideas to help parents and children cope.
What Every Parent Needs to Know about Bullying

NO ONE likes to be picked on. As another school year starts, no doubt bullying will make its way back into the news. Sadly, it’s more common than you might think.

Nearly 30% of 6th and 8th graders and 23% of 10th graders in Washington state have reported being bullied. (Washington Healthy Youth Survey, 2008)

Bullies often pick on kids who are seen as weaker and more vulnerable?often kids who are less popular, have few or no friends, and have low self esteem. Bullies range from the mean kid on the block to the vindictive teen girl behind the computer screen. In addition to emotional and physical bullying, cyberbullying is now frequently used to torment kids.

Warning Signs Your Child is Being Bullied

? Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
? Has unexplained injuries
? Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
? Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
? Has changes in eating habits
? Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
? Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
? Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
? Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
? Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
? Suddenly has fewer friends
? Unexpectedly stops using the computer or cell phone
? Appears nervous or jumpy when an instant message or email appears

What Parents Can Do

? Talk with your kids about bullying ? even if you don’t think they are victims. Ask how things are going at school, what they think of other kids in their classes, if anyone gets picked on or bullied. Make sure they feel safe and secure and that they have your unconditional support.

? Work with your child on how to stay safe. Do not encourage them to fight back because a situation can easily escalate and become dangerous. Practice what to say or do in various situations?just telling your child to do things such as walking away isn’t enough. For many victims, these skills do not come naturally.

? Teach your child when and how to ask for help from an adult. Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying watches out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.

? Monitor your child’s activities online ? through active participation/supervision or through software.

? Encourage your child to become friends with other children. Have your child?s friends come over to your house. Loners are more likely to get picked on.

? Talk with the school principal, guidance counselors and teachers to alert them to the problems you see and work with them on solutions.
What a Child Can Do (from www.surfnetparents.com)

There are ten ways to stop a bully:

1. Put on a brave face. When you let a bully know that you are afraid of them, it is like giving them power. If you give them some power, you will find that the bullying gets worse. So, put on a brave face, and never show your fear.

2. Have a friend around. Bullies are reluctant to go after someone who has backup. Bullies usually pick out the weakest person they can find, and there is strength in numbers. So, stop a bully by having a friend on hand all the time.

3. Avoid the bully. There are some situations where bullying is worse because it is an ideal situation for a bully to go after their victim without any consequences. If there is no adult around, no authority figure like a teacher or parent, then they can bully without fear of getting caught. So, avoid these situations. On the playground stay where other kids can hear, where the playground monitor is around, etc.

4. Ignore bullies. A lot of what bullies do is for a reaction. They say or do things to see what you will do. If you want to stop a bully, just ignore their efforts, soon they will find someone else. Whether it is bullying online or in person, ignore, ignore, ignore.

5. Confront the bully. One of the things that you should do is confront the bully. Ask them why they are bullying you. Ask them what the problem is. Ask them to stop. Bullies are rarely asked to face the reality that they are being a bully, so make them face it.

6. Report the bullying. Bullies can’t bully for long if they are getting caught. The beginning of getting a bully to stop has to start with an authority figure. So, each time someone bullies you, tell an adult. If it happens at school, tell a counselor, a teacher, or the principal.

7. Improve your self-esteem. Bullies usually pick on kids who have low esteem. They look for people who are weak, isolated, that feel alone, and have few friends. There is less chance of them being caught that way. Work on your esteem, and you won’t be picked on long.

8. Control your feelings. As mentioned previously, bullies look for reactions, don’t give them one, and soon they will grow bored and move on.

9. Stand up for yourself when it gets bad. If a bully is physically harming you, ruining your reputation, or something else then don’t put up with it. Instead, say the words like, “Stop” or “Don’t” and make sure they know you are done taking their bullying.

10. Don’t bully back. It is good to say no, but don’t bully in return. You don’t want to be on the same level. Instead, tell someone that they are bullying you, and then do your best to ignore.

“Discovery Health

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