Posted By: Envision2bWell, Inc
Roughly one in five students report being bullied at school, girls more than boys, although males are more likely to experience physical harassment. (Source: Parents.com) Bullying effects everyone involved: the ones being bullied, the ones doing the bullying, and the ones witnessing the bullying. These effects may continue into adulthood and cause increased feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.
As outlined by stopbullying.gov, the types of bullying are:
- Being the subject of rumors or lies (13.4%)
- Being made fun of, called names, or insulted (13.0%)
- Pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (5.3%)
- Leaving out/exclusion (5.2%)
- Threatened with harm (3.9%)
- Others tried to make them do things they did not want to do (1.9%)
- Property was destroyed on purpose (1.4%)
Preventing bullying before it happens is how you can proactively help your children minimize their risk for being bullied and for bullying. Here are some ways to prevent bullying, as outlined by stopbullying.gov and impactparents:
- Help your children understand what bullying is.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Encourage your children to do what they love.
- Model how to treat others.
- Instill a strong sense of self in your children.
- Teach and rehearse comeback lines / actions so your children are prepared. Think assertive, not aggressive.
- Teach your children vital friendship skills and other social/emotional skills.
The second critical component to effectively helping your children deal with bullies has to do with your response to the bullying when it occurs. First and foremost, avoid emotional outbursts and reactions. Your child will fare better if you remain calm, stable and in control. Listen carefully to everything your child says about the bullying and ask questions. Make sure to validate his/her feelings. Above all, focus on offering comfort and support. In this VeryWellFamily article they offer six encouraging statements you can make to your child:
1. It took courage to tell me.
2. This is not your fault.
3. How do you want to handle it?
4. I will help you.
5. Let’s keep this from happening again.
6. Who has your back?
In a recent parentsmap.com article, author Gemma Alexander stated, "It's estimated that about 13 percent of kids participate in bullying behavior, while 20 percent of kids experience bullying. But most kids — anywhere from 70–90 percent of children — witness bullying." According to Jasmine Williams, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the Committee for Children, “When kids stand up to bullying, we know that we can reduce bullying by more than 50 percent.”
So how can you help your children harness their bystander power and become ‘upstanders’ instead? Teach them the three R’s:
RECOGNIZE: Teach your children about bullying so they can recognize it when they see it, in all its variations.
REFUSE: Kids can be afraid to speak up against bullying, for fear they’ll be bullied themselves. Teach them that a simple, “That’s not funny,” can be extremely effective.
REPORT: Make sure your children understand that reporting bullying is not the same things as tattling.
Learn more about these three R's here: http://www.parentmap.com/article/bystander-power-how-kids-can-prevent-bullying
As a final note, it is important to remember what was stated in the beginning of this article. Bullying affects everyone and all parents must get involved in helping prevent and respond, as well as show empathy for both the child being bullied and the child doing the bullying. Stopbullying.gov recommends paying particular attention to not labeling children, but rather addressing the behavior.
- Instead of calling a child a "bully," refer to them as "the child who bullied"
- Instead of calling a child a "victim," refer to them as "the child who was bullied"
- Instead of calling a child a "bully/victim," refer to them as "the child who was both bullied and bullied others."
Addressed proactively and with compassion and empathy for all involved, parents can play an important role in putting an end to bullying and building a bridge to healing and forgiveness.
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