What Is Bullying?
Bullying is a disrespectful behavior that is intentional and aggressive. Bullying is more than a disagreement and can be:
Physical - hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, taking personal belongings
Verbal - taunting, teasing, name calling, gossiping, making threats
Social - spreading rumors, manipulating, excluding/isolating, intimidation, interfering with the friendships of others, cyberbullying, sexting
How 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. Bullying should not be a normal part of growing up. It effects children’s mental well being, 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.
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.
Contact your child’s teacher or principal to report bullying and to find out about the school’s bullying prevention plan.
Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child’s experience of being bullied, including who, what, when, where and how.
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.
Bullying Prevention Video
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