Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bullies



It was a beautiful fall afternoon; my 2 daughters go down the street to play with a friend.  20 minutes later, my oldest comes running in and shouting “mom can you call Amy’s mom, she tried to punch me and then she chased me down the street!!!

At the beginning of the school year, this is what I heard from my daughter. She had a bully and I was mad!I will talk more on this later.

Now, several months later and a new state, she is being bullied again. She told me that she was pushed and they called her a b**ch and said s*it you to her. (Yes I know that doesn’t make sense.) She told me that she told an adult and they talked to the students. But, here I am again mad, but am prepared to go forward to stop it before it becomes worse.

Unfortunately, in this country 1 out of 4 students will be bullied, 8% of bullied students will miss 1 day of school per month out of fear of being bullied, 43 % fear being harassed in the school bathroom, every 7 seconds someone is bullied and more bullying occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.

What is Bullying?
My youngest daughter thought bullying included overhearing a student tell her sister to kiss her male friend. That isn’t bullying, that’s being a kid.
  • Punching, shoving, and other acts that hurt people physically
  • Spreading bad rumors about people
  • Keeping certain people out of a "group"
  • Teasing people in a mean way
  • Getting certain people to "gang up" on others
  • Sending mean text, email, or instant messages
  • Posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on Web sites
  • Using someone else's user name to spread rumors or lies about someone
Bullying is calling my daughter horrible names that shouldn’t be coming out of a 4th graders mouth. Bullying is pushing her  and bullying is trying to hit her.

What NOT To Do If You Are Bullied

DON'T...
  • Think it's your fault. Nobody deserves to be bullied!
  • Fight back or bully a person back. This probably won't make things any better and it might get you into big trouble. Besides, you should try to act better than the person who bullies you.
  • Keep it to yourself and just hope the bullying will "go away." It's normal to want to try to ignore bullying and hope that it will stop–or hope that the person will start to pick on someone else. But, often, bullying won't stop until adults and other kids get involved. So, be sure to report the bullying.
  • Skip school or avoid clubs or sports because you're afraid of being bullied. Missing out on school or activities that you enjoy isn't the answer. You have a right to be there!
  • Think that you're a "tattle tale" if you tell an adult that you've been bullied. Telling is NOT tattling! It's the right thing to do.
  • Hurt yourself. Some kids who are bullied get so sad and depressed that they may try to hurt themselves because they think there is nothing else they can do. This definitely isn't the answer. Talk with an adult immediately and tell them how you are feeling. They can help stop the bullying.

Why Students Bully
Information about bullying suggests that there are three interrelated reasons why students bully.
1. Students who bully have strong needs for power and (negative) dominance.
2. Students who bully find satisfaction in causing injury and suffering to other
     students.
3. Students who bully are often rewarded in some way for their behavior with
     material or psychological rewards.
 
Students Who are Bullied - Students deserve to feel safe at school. But when they experience bullying, these types of effects can last long into their future:
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Health problems
  • Poor grades
  • Suicidal thoughts
I was bullied in high school and I suffered depression and low self-esteem. I believe the effects of being bullied still have an impact on me even today. I remember wishing my bully would die.
Students Who Bully Others - Students who intentionally bully others should be held accountable for their actions. Those who bully their peers are also more likely than those students who do not bully others to *:
  • Get into frequent fights
  • Steal and vandalize property
  • Drink alcohol and smoke
  • Report poor grades
  • Perceive a negative climate at school
  • Carry a weapon
* Not all students who bully others have obvious behavior problems or are engaged in rule-breaking activities.
Observers of Bullying - Students who see bullying happen also may feel that they are in an unsafe environment. Effects may include feeling:
  • Fearful
  • Powerless to act
  • Guilty for not acting
  • Tempted to participate
The Bullying Circle
Nearly one in five students in an average classroom is experiencing bullying in some way. The rest of the students, called bystanders, are also affected by the bullying.1


Warning signs that your child is being bullied:

• Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing
pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings;
• Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches;
• Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she
spends time;
• Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and
from school, riding the school bus, or taking part
in organized activities with peers (such as clubs);
• Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or
from school;
• Has lost interest in school work or suddenly
begins to do poorly in school;
• Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he
or she comes home;
• Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches,
or other physical ailments;
• Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams;
• Experiences a loss of appetite; or
• Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.



What you can do if your child is being bullied;
Talk with your child and listen.  Tell them that you love them and are concerned. Remember, it is not their fault, do not judge them, do not tell they are imagining things or to toughen up. Your child is being victimized and needs help.
Give lots of love, support and positive encouragement.
Contact that staff at your child's.
Contact the bullies parents if you are lucky enough to find out who they are.
Contact the police if it involves real physical harm that cannot be stopped by the bullies parents and or the parents are unwilling to help.


What you can do if  you are bullied;

Always tell an adult.
When my daughter was almost punched by the other girl, luckily I knew the mother and called her on her cell phone. The bullying stopped immediately. The days leading up to us moving away, the two girls were walking home together.
With my daughter’s new bullies, I don’t know the kids or the parents. But Naomi is instructed to tell an adult and to get the office to call me, even if she has to fake a sickness. And I hope it doesn’t ever happen, but I would get the police involved if going to the parents and/or the school doesn’t lead up to success.
Someone might say, “yes but if I tell an adult, the bullying could get worse!” Maybe, but I think saying that is more based out of fear of what “could” happen, not necessarily what is going to happen. There are laws in every state to protect kids from being bullied.

Stay in a group.
Bullies like it when their victim is alone. They are more vulnerable, easy targets and the bully is likely to get away with it.
My nephew Jack is such a sweet boy and is extremely bright. He often tells me of how his bullied at school. He says they throw him to the ground and of course always do it when nobody is looking.

If it feels safe, try to stand up to the person who is bullying you.
A bully will keep picking on you if you don’t fight back. Don’t bully them back, but stand up for yourself in a calm manner. Say, “don’t say that to me” or “stop” My daughter's mistake is that she cries when she is bullied. Bullies like that, they like that you are upset, they achieved their goal! I always tell my daughter to not let the other person know that what they have done bothers her.
If you are not comfortable with standing up to the bully alone, have someone with you. Have either a trusted friend or better yet a grownup with you.
If you are not comfortable with even that, at least tell an adult.

If you are being bullied online, don't reply.
Replying only adds fuel to the fire. Never reply. Block all communications with this person, whether it is email or Facebook. Print the email or note if you do see it and always show an adult.
For more information, see


Join clubs or take part in activities where you'll meet other kids.
This will build your self esteem, being around kids who share a common interest and quite frankly, who are nice.

Did you Witness Bullying?

1. Report the bullying to an adult.
If you are not being bullied, but you notice that someone else it, tell an adult. It’s the right thing to do. Make sure you tell the adult who was involved, what happened, when and where. If you want, bring someone with you.
There are laws against bullying, most adults hate it and will be glad you told them.
2. Support someone who is being bullied.
Be their friend. Someone who is bullied needs friends. Sit by them, listen to them, and walk home with them.
3. Stand up to the person doing the bullying.
If you are comfortable doing this, tell the person doing the bullying to cut it out, tell them they are not being funny. Don’t bully them back. If you’re not comfortable, tell an adult about the bullying.


Does your child bully?
If you are a parent of a child who bullies others you need to remember as their parent, you are ultimately responsible for their actions. Get them to stop! Do everything you can to get them to quit it! Talk with them, discipline them via taking things away, an IPOD, DS system, music, Wii, no friends for awhile, no cell phone. Get your child into therapy. You're the parent, they need parenting!!
If you think you need to resort to violence toward your child because they are bullying, then you need help! They are only following in your footsteps if this is the case.

REMEMBER: There are laws in each state to help kids who are being bullied. Find out what your state law is by going to:  http://www.olweus.org/public/bullying_laws.page

More information:


Great youtube video:




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