Is it Bullying?
When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that's RUDE, not bullying.
When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that's MEAN, not bullying.
Bullying is not always easy to define. It can take the form of verbal, physical, emotional, racist, and/or sexual abuse, and often is excused as humor or teasing.
Bullying is defined as:
A deliberate hostile action or aggression towards another person.
The victim is usually weaker and/or less powerful than the bully or bullies.
Bullying has an outcome, which is almost always painful and distressing for the victim.
In other words, when someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it even when you tell them to stop or show them that you're upset, that's BULLYING.
Are you or someone you know being bullied? If so, we can help! To report bullying, please fill out the following report by clicking on the following link: 2018/2019 link coming soon
Children do not usually learn to solve these kinds of problems by themselves. We need to teach them. I need your help as parents to stop the cycle of bullying. Help me to teach your children to speak up on the behalf of the children being bullied. Since bullying is an imbalance of power, telling about a bullying situation is not tattling. Persistent bullying can lead to depression, low self-esteem, shyness, poor academic achievement, and at its extreme even suicide. Research has shown that children usually talk to their parents if they are being bullied, not the school, so communication between you, as parents, and the school is crucial to keep the children in our community safe.
If your child is being bullied:
- Talk to your child calmly about what has happened.
- Discuss alternatives to responding to bullies.
- Tell your child not to react, instead to walk away, and get help if pursued. If its during nutrition or lunch have them walk towards a campus supervisor.
- Tell your child to be assertive and tell the bully to stop.
- Note down what your child says, who was involved, how often, where the incident occurred, and what happened.
- Reassure the child that reporting the incident was the right thing to do and if it were to happen again then they should immediately let you or a teacher know.
- Make an appointment with your child's teacher and explain what your child is experiencing. They may not be aware of what is going on.
If your child is the bully:
- Give your child suggestions for other things to do if they are frustrated.
- Role-play new behavior with your child.
- Discuss whom they could go to if they feel themselves getting into this type of situation.
- Specify consequences if the aggression or bullying continues.
- You want to stop the behavior, understand your child's feelings, and reward appropriate behaviors.
How to Bully-Proof Your Child
Make it a habit to talk to your child about school. Ask pointed questions, such as 'Who is a bully in your class?' and 'Who bothers kids at recess and on the bus?'
What to Look For:
- Excuses for not wanting to go to school
- Unexplained bruises
- Torn clothing
- Need for extra school supplies or money
- Continually 'losing' belongings and school supplies
- Problems sleeping; nightmares
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Sudden academic problems
- Being secretive, sullen, or having temper outbursts
- Ravenous after school (lunches being taken)
- Rushes to bathroom after school (avoiding use at school)
- Frequent visits to school sick room (Health Office) with mysterious complaints
If You Suspect a Problem:
- Let the school know your safety worries immediately
- Keep a record of times, dates, names, and circumstances to show a pattern of harassment
- Urge your school to adopt a clear conduct code that enforces strict penalties for bullying
- Teach your child self-respect; confident kids are less likely to become victims
- Let your child know it is OK to express their anger, if done appropriately
- Encourage friendships ... there is strength in numbers
- Arrange weekend play dates to encourage friendships
- Help your child build social skills early
- Help shy kids with social skills training. Role-play together situations that have occurred
- Explain the difference between 'telling' and 'tattling'. 'Tattling' is when you report someone just to get them in trouble. 'Telling' is when you report that you or someone else is in danger. Danger includes verbal abuse, and being excluded.
- Stress the importance of body language. A 'victim stance' may attract bullies
- Teach your child effective skills for making friends. These include how to share, compromise, be diplomatic, change the topic of conversation to avoid conflict, use 'I' statements, and apologize.
- Teach your child alternative responses ... use 'HA HA SO' (Help, Avoid, Humor, Assert yourself, Self-talk, Own it)
- Don't advise either ignoring or physically attacking the bully
Books for Parents:
- Arrezo, D. & Stocking, H. (1975) Helping Friendless Children: A Guide for Teachers and Parents; Boys Town Centre for the Study of Youth Development
- Blechman, E. (1985) Solving Child Behaviour Problems at Home and at School; Research Press
- Canter, L. & Canter, M. (1988) Assertive Discipline for Parents; Lee Canter & Associates
- James, J. (1990) You Know I Wouldn't Say This If I Didn't Love You; Newmarket Press
- Golant, M. & Crane, B. (1987) Sometimes It's OK to be Angry: A Parent/Child Manual for the Education of Children; OK Press