Victims of bullying need support from teachers, parents and peers. It can be a traumatizing experience for many and one that carries life-long effects. Reporting bullying can be done in a safe way but many children are reluctant reporters. They may believe that others will accuse them of tattling. They may feel shame or think that others will say that they brought this on themselves or that they are simply attention seekers. In older children, being bullied might suggest they have no control over their lives. Children also might be fearful of repercussions from their peers or fear that the problem might get worse. Children need to know that it is better to speak out than it is to keep a problem to themselves. Talking with your child often helps. However, if the behavior continues or you see some of the warning signs mentioned, you should seek help from teachers, school counselor or administrative staff.
Yes. In general, boys bully more often than girls. Boys spend more time with other boys in physical activities such as sports and games so they are involved in more physical altercations. In contrast, girls spend more of their time socializing with other girls in friendship based activities. Rather than target a girl directly, girls tend to bully other girls through their peer group. Also, girls frequently share hurtful information with other girls (and boys) about the targeted child. For example, a girl may tell other girls in the group an embarrassing story about another girl. They may name-call, spread rumors or say mean things about her using social networking sites such as Face book or MySpace. They may use her email address to send hurtful messages to everyone on her list. These behaviors are relational in nature because they attack relationships and friendships, often destroying a girl’s enthusiasm and self esteem.
Students everywhere can make a difference. They are stepping up to say, “That’s not cool!” when other kids bully in school. Reaching out to others being teased and including them in a game or at your lunch table can make someone’s day.
If you are the one being picked on you can say “Please stop.” or “That hurts my feelings”. Instead of fighting or teasing back try using humor to deflect bullying comments such as “Knock it off” or “Cut It Out”. Choose words or phrases that you feel comfortable using and practice with your parents or in front of a mirror! Standing up for yourself in a positive way is empowering and helps you feel in control.
Why is it important to stand up to a bully? If bullies didn’t have support from the people around them they wouldn’t bully in the first place. Bullies are not very courageous, they seek power but they’ll back off once they sense disapproval from their peers. They are encouraged when no one speaks up or when they see their victims suffer alone. Kids need to know that by laughing at a bully’s actions or playing along with them they become a participant in bullying.
For more information, please visit these helpful resources and the websites linked below.
Blubber by Judy Blume
Bluish by Virginia Hamilton
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
Holly’s Secret by Nancy Garden
The Misfits by James Howe
Stick Up for Yourself: Every Kid’s Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem by Gershen Kaufman
A Good Friend, How to Make One, How to Keep One by Ron Herron
Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco
My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Say Something by Peggy Moss
Name Calling by Itah Sadu
Nobody Knew What to Do by Becky Ray Mc Cain
King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies by Kate Cohen-Possey
Bullies are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain