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Bullying Hurts Everyone, Not Just the Victim

On Bullying - Parents And Bullying  At first, the word “bullying” conjures up images of a tough, wise-cracking kid verbally taunting and embarrassing another, pushing, punching, poking, tripping, threatening, taking his possessions, ripping his clothes, defacing his property…all behaviors that are clearly inappropriate and that demand immediate adult intervention. But what about the child who because of her small stature and difficulties with expressive language, is rejected by peers when she tries to sit next to them on the school bus and taunted when she tries to join in a conversation? Or the student who is fearful of walking through the hallways in school because of the dozens of times (by any number of peers) he has been shoved, face first, into a locker or had his backpack yanked off his body causing him to fall backwards (sometimes on the staircase!) resulting in his being late for class, not to mention the physical and emotional pain he’s had to endure. How about the child whose teachers, perhaps unknowingly, have communicated to the entire class that there are certain children whose work is, and will likely remain, below expectations, resulting in their being perceived as “dummies” or “stupid” (these are their words, not mine!). Or the child who is socially manipulated or baited, causing them to be the repeated brunt of jokes and relentless teasing.

Bullying
  • Repeated aggressive behaviors that intentionally causes harm to its victims
  • An imbalance of power that is meant to result in verbal, physical, or social harm

Would you knowingly allow your child to be in this situation? For six to eight hours each day in school? On the ball field during what should be time of fun and release of tension? And would you have them go back to these situations day after day, week after week, mistakenly assuming that supervising adults were making sure that all was well? Of course not!

And it’s not just about the act of bullying…It’s about the culture, environment and community within which bullying takes place. How confident are you that your child will feel accepted and be safe in places and situations where, for whatever reason, people (children and adults) don’t seem to value them as individuals and see no need to speak up when they are being targeted? Addressing the problem of bullying is much more than having a parent-child conversation. It’s something that needs to be addressed in partnership with parents, school personnel and members of the community at large.

Don’t Assume There’s Not a Problem—Ask Questions!

  • Ask your child if he or she has ever been bullied. How did it made them feel? What do they wish could have been done to prevent it from happening?
  • Ask friends or family members whether they recall having been bullied or witnessed someone else being bullied. (Don’t be surprised when they recall, years later, in vivid detail, the impact it had on them.)
  • Ask yourself how sure you are that your child has not been involved in bullying, as a victim, perpetrator, or observer. Does your child understand his or her rights and responsibilities as individuals and as members of the community, to guarantee that bullying is not in any way tolerated?

And then what should you do? Adapting the 2010 slogan adopted by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security,…“Be on the lookout for bullying, and if you see something, say something, do something.”



NCLD Says “No” to Bullying!

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