What Is Bullying?Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending him or herself. Bullying can look very different and can be:
Physical - hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, taking personal belongings
Verbal - taunting, teasing, name calling, gossiping, making threatsSocial - spreading rumors, manipulating, excluding/isolating, intimidation, interfering with the friendships of others, cyberbullyingHow Does Bullying Impact Children?
Children and youth who are bullied tend to have more headaches, sleeping problems, and stomach aches than children who are not bullied. They also have higher rates of moderate depression and thoughts of suicide than kids who aren’t bullied.
As children who are involved in bullying behavior grow up, they tend to commit more crimes, report higher rates of alcoholism and commit more spousal abuse than those who did not bully others when they were younger.
Common Bullying Myths:
MYTH: Kids will be kids. They are just teasing.
FACT: Teasing is only teasing if both people think it is funny. Teasing between friends stop when one says Stop. Bullying should not be a normal part of growing up. It impacts children’s mental health, academic performance and physical health.
MYTH: Kids who are bullied need to learn how to deal with bullying on their own.
FACT: Bullying is a form of victimization or peer abuse. Children should not be expected to “deal with it on their own.” Adults and other children who witness or observe bullying have a critical role to play in helping to stop the bullying.
MYTH: Bullying does not have long-term effects on children.
FACT: Children who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, and anxious; have low self-esteem; and feel physically unwell.
MYTH: Children & youth who bully are mostly loners with few social skills and friends.
FACT: Sometimes popular students gain power by hurting others. At least a small group of friends support and encourage the bullying behavior.
MYTH Once a bully, always a bully.
FACT: Everyone can learn to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and learn better ways to get along with others.
MYTH: Bullying is the same thing as a disagreement.FACT: Bullying is not just disagreeing about something. It is aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength. It is often repeated over time. A conflict and bullying are two very different things.
What Parents Can Do...First, focus on your child. Be supportive, listen and gather information about the bullying.
Never tell your child to ignore bullying. What the child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore it. If your child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious. If you are stuck on which strategies to suggest your child use, direct the conversation to the class meetings being held in her classroom. Try to help her remember what the class ideas were to respond to bullying.
Contact your child’s school to report bullying and to find out about the bullying prevention plan.
Provide all necessary information about your child’s experience of being bullied, including who, what, when, where and how. If you are uncomfortable contacting the school, please use the incident report form to provide the school with the needed information. Keep in mind, confidentiality laws prohibit the school from sharing information on how they are handling the other children involved. Please trust that the situation will be handled promptly in a developmentally appropriate fashion.
Help your child become more resilient.
Talk to your child about being with friends and knowing which friends he or she can count on. Encourage positive relationships by teaching them to hang out with kids that make them feel good about themselves. Help them develop cofidence in her ability to handle a conflict with a friend and to stand up for herself when needed.
55 Million Students Attended School in Grades K-12 in 2010-2011
1 in 3 or 18 Million Students Will Experience Bullying This Year!On August 11-12, 2010 the US Department of Education held its first bullying summit in Washington D.C. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, child development experts and school officials discussed ways to end bullying in our nation’s schools and how to craft a national strategy to provide students with a safe learning environment. In his keynote speech, Secretary Duncan stated: “No student should feel unsafe at school. A positive school climate is foundational to strong academic achievement.” In 2007 over 900,000 secondary students reported they were cyber-bullied. Secretary Duncan suggested that “new technologies provide new tools to hurt others in old ways.” Bullying is a learned behavior. The Education Department’s overriding belief is that “Young people can absolutely learn to behave differently.”