I would like to thank Jeff Ellis of International Karate Centers in Strongville for asking me to speak on this important topic. I would also like to thank all the parents who came to the Middleburgh Heights Recreation Center last week for sharing their insights and experiences with us.
Bullying is a socially pervastive problem in our culture. Children and adults alike can suffer from the effects of being bullied. Fortunately just a little bit of information on bullying awareness can help children and adults manage a situation if they are faced with a bully. The following is a checklist of information to help identify bullying and some ideas for how to address the bully and the situation in general.
There are many techniques for managing a bully. The important thing is that the bullying is stopped and the victim feels supported by their parents, friends, and teachers. Sometimes this means listening and empathisizing with the victim, other times it means parents need to directly intervene. No matter what the situation, realize that you are not alone.
Bullying is not pre-wired, or inevitable
Bullying is learned, and controllable
Bullying spreads if supported or left unchecked
Bullying involves everyone-bullies, victims, and bystanders
Bullying can be stopped or entirely prevented
Bullying is a form of emotional or physical abuse that has three defining characteristics:
Deliberate-a bully’s intention is to hurt someone
Repeated- a bully often targets the same victim again and again
Power imbalanced- A bully chooses victims he or she perceives as vulnerable
Most Bullying is not reported. Warning signs your child is being bullied include:
Evidence of physical abuse, such as bruises and scratches
Loss of friends, changes in friends
Reluctance to participate in activities with peers
Loss of interest in favorite activities
Being unusually sad, moody, anxious, lonely, or depressed
Problems with eating, sleeping, bed-wetting
Headaches, stomachaches, or other physical complaints
Decline in school achievement
Thoughts of suicide
What can you do?
Demonstrate assertive behavior
Teach social skills
Identify potential friendship problems and correct them
Teach common courtesy skills
Identify ways to respond to bullies
Demonstrate the rewards of personal achievement
What can your child do?
Lean to identify acts of aggression, bossiness, or discrimination
Encourage children not to give up objects or territories to bullies
Be assertive, maintain eye contact, speak with a calm voice, avoid name calling or threats, reply briefly and directly, and avoid bringing up past grudges or making generalizations. (You always…)
Be a helpful bystander- Stand between or near the victim and the bully, separate them if necessary, do not respond aggressively. Instead simply escort the person who is being bullied away.
If a bystander can not safely intervene they can get an adult to do so.
**Adapted from the Eyes on Bullying Strategy Book