While there still exists the typical playground bully who uses his size or strength to push others around, the act of bullying can be more generally defined as aggressive behavior, usually reoccurring, involving an imbalance of power or strength, carried out with the intention of hurting another person, many times without any physical contact.
PHYSICAL – VERBAL – EMOTIONAL - SOCIAL – CYBER: Regardless of what form bullying takes on, there is great risk of causing life-lasting harm to a person’s psyche. Being bullied can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, missed school days, alcohol or other drug use and attempted and completed suicide.
Bullying Quick Facts
(according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry):
• About half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years
• Bullying occurs more often in middle school than in elementary or high school
• Boys tend to experience physical or verbal bullying
• Girls tend to experience emotional or social bullying
Childhood bullying can set the tone for how a person deals with problems the rest of his or her life. Therefore it is critical for parents to not take bullying lightly and to deal with it early on.
Parent Tips for Dealing with a Bullying Situation
(according to Stop Bullying Now):
•Get your child’s input: Listen, empathize, gather info and respect your child’s view of the situation. However, as the parent, you must decide the appropriate action and take the lead in dealing with it. And do NOT encourage retaliation, as it is likely to only make matters worse.
•Keep your emotions in check: It is natural for our protective parental instincts to take over, but it is important to keep a calm, clear head as you consider the next steps.
•Contact school authorities (do NOT contact the parents of the bully directly): Stick to the facts. Emphasize your desire to work with school officials to solve the problem.
•For cyber bullying, encourage your child NOT to respond to the bully. Save all messages as evidence. Try to identify the bully, even if he/she is using a fake or anonymous name. Again, make school officials aware of the situation and in the case of cyber bullying, consider filing a complaint directly with the internet or cell phone provider.
If the bullying continues, contact the school again. In serious cases where threats are made or violence occurs, contact your local police. Remember, you are your child’s best defense. If you are concerned that your child may be a victim of any form of bullying, take action today.
SOURCE: "Know! is a program of Drug-Free Action Alliance."
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