What is Bullying?
Bullying is an act of aggression in the form of:
- hitting or punching (physical bullying);
- teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying);
- intimidation using gestures (nonverbal bullying);
- social exclusion (emotional bullying);
- sending insulting messages by phone or computer/social media (cyberbullying).
Bullying is behavior that is:
- Has an imbalance of power
What isn’t Bullying?
- Certain acts of exclusion that happen every now and again (not being invited to a party, not being included in a game at recess)
- Disliking someone- as long as the person is not verbally or physically aggressive about it, it is okay for one student to dislike another
- Accidental physical harm
- Being bossy- this is a tough one for many, but appropriate leadership is a developmental skill that many children won’t master until much later
As a parent, what can I do?
- Model positive behaviors
- Encourage your children to solve small problems on their own
- Use the STOP, WALK, TALK vocabulary
- Identify trusted adults at school and in the community
- Observe for warning signs (constant on and off again friendships, depressed and lonely, school refusal)
- Take reports of bullying behavior seriously
- Actively listen and ask questions to find out details
- Don’t minimize their feelings by saying it’s “just a phase” or “that’s just how girls are”, etc.
- Practice assertiveness and social skills through role-play
- Inform school staff
Signs a Child is Being Bullied:
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicid
Resources (children’s books):
The Bully Blockers Club by Teresa Bateman
Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig
Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig
My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Say Something by Peggy Moss
Resources (parenting books):
Queen Bees and Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman
Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons
Little Girls Can Be Mean by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert
No Kidding About Bullying by Naomi Drew
Refer to Website: www.stopbullying.gov for more useful information