“It hurts to be left out.” “Teasing hurts.” “Include everybody.” – These are posters placed around elementary school campuses. Because of a heightened sense of awareness, teachers and administrations are working hard to keep schools “Bully Free”. Has your child encountered a bully? Unsure of what to do?
Bullies can come in all different shapes and sizes:
- kids that are bigger than their peers
- kids who have more friends than their peers
- kids that have seen bullying modeled in their home
Recently, Girl Bullies are becoming more recognized. Often times a bully’s ability to manipulate both their peers AND their parents, makes them hard to spot. Most parents don’t think the bully is THEIR kid, but the bully belongs to somebody! It’s important to look closely at the behavior of your child. If possible, get a teacher opinion or another objective third-party’s opinion as well your own observations.
Is your child a bully? The following is an excerpt from a parentmap.com article addressing the topic:
Signs your child is a bully:
- She (or he) is aggressive, even toward adults.
- She likes pushing around and teasing other children.
- She dominates and manipulates.
- She is a smooth talker in tough situations.
- She is easily frustrated.
How families can help prevent bullying:
- Create a home environment of tolerance, where differences are celebrated and everyone feels valued.
- Encourage your school to develop policies and procedures regarding bullying.
- Ask for a bullying prevention program to be implemented in your school.
- Intervene every time you witness bullying behavior.
- If your child bullies others, provide predictable, consistent, matter-of-fact consequences.
- Spend time with your child. All children need a daily, personal connection with parents, teachers and other caring adults.
- Encourage bystanders to speak out against bullying behavior and to report it to adults.
What can a teacher do?
Jim Wright, M.S., a school psychologist, has done extensive research on this topic. If you are a teacher, or if you are a parent preparing to conference with a teacher about a bullying situation, it would be worth your time to read his Bully Booklet. He addresses the tool of “opportunity” that bullies have and how teachers and administration can help manage that in a school setting.
Dr. Olweus has developed a very intensive Bullying Research Program. His website is full of facts, tips and resources to help you (and your child’s teacher) help your child.
Remember that parents can be bullies too. Set a good example for those little eyes and ears!