With school starting back soon, parents and children may be concerned about coping with the bullying problem that is in most schools. The prevalent attitude among some adults, whether they are parents, grandparents, teachers, or other child caregivers, that "Boys will be boys" and then their tendency to turn a blind eye to the bulllying dilemma only worsens the situation.
Bullying is a serious problem among American youth. It’s a problem that must be officially and effectively addressed by our schools and communities, including principals, teachers, community leaders, parents and students.
If your child is a target of a bully, he or she undoubtedly feels fearful, completely alone, and utterly helpless. Feeling fearful of such aggression is natural, but you, as parents, need to help your children realize that they are not alone. There is hope and there is help.
Some bullies make a show of false bravado. They tease and harass, but they are all bark and no bite, as the old saying goes. If the victim of the bully were to call his bluff, he may discover beneath a real cream puff.
Most bullies, however, have some kind of advantage or power over their victims. Most, unfortunately, want to inflict verbal, emotional or physical harm on their targets. It is this type of bullying that is a threatening and ever-increasing problem for your children. Such bullying can take the form of direct attacks on them, such as hitting, taunting, name-calling, malicious sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging their belongings. It can also take the form of more subtle attacks, such as spreading rumors about your child or enlisting cohorts to reject and exclude your child. How can your child deal with this deliberately aggressive and potentially harmful bully?
Advise your child to always tell you if he or she is being picked on or bullied in any way. Advise them to tell the teacher as well. Help your child to understand that telling a responsible adult about a bully is not being a baby. It is being smart.
Advise your child that ignoring the bully and simply walking away from his aggressiveness may work with some bullies. Using humor might get the bully to stop as well. Bullies often give up when they don't get the expected response from their intended victim.
Additional strategies for dealing with bullying can be found in my children's book to be published at the end of May 2013. It is called The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale. The book is not only a fun and imaginative school story about a big bully, the kids he picks on, and a little boy robot who tries to lead the charge to stop the bullying problem in their school, but it is also an informational book. It includes two sections of researched and effective strategies and resources for children, parents, and teachers to help them better deal with today’s ever-increasing bullying problem.