Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dealing with Bullies

Bullying is a big problem. It can make kids feel hurt, scared, sick, lonely, embarrassed and sad. Bullies might hit, kick, or push to hurt people, or use words to call names, threaten, tease, or scare them. A bully might say mean things about someone, grab a kid's stuff, make fun of someone, or leave a kid out of the group on purpose. Some bullies threaten people or try to make them do things they don't want to do.
Bullying Is a Big Deal
Bullying is a big problem that affects lots of kids. Three-quarters of all kids say they have been bullied or teased. Being bullied can make kids feel really bad. The stress of dealing with bullies can make kids feel sick.
Bullying can make kids not want to play outside or go to school. It's hard to keep your mind on schoolwork when you're worried about how you're going to deal with the bully near your locker. Bullying bothers everyone — and not just the kids who are getting picked on. Bullying can make school a place of fear and can lead to more violence and more stress for everyone.
Why Do Bullies Act That Way?
Some bullies are looking for attention. They might think bullying is a way to be popular or to get what they want. Most bullies are trying to make themselves feel more important. When they pick on someone else, it can make them feel big and powerful.
Some bullies come from families where everyone is angry and shouting all the time. They may think that being angry, calling names, and pushing people around is a normal way to act. Some bullies are copying what they've seen someone else do. Some have been bullied themselves.
Sometimes bullies know that what they are doing or saying hurts other people. But other bullies may not really know how hurtful their actions can be. Most bullies don't understand or care about the feelings of others.
Bullies often pick on someone they think they can have power over. They might pick on kids who get upset easily or who have trouble sticking up for themselves. Getting a big reaction out of someone can make bullies feel like they have the power they want. Sometimes bullies pick on someone who is smarter than they are or different from them in some way. Sometimes bullies just pick on a kid for no reason at all.
Gemma told her mom that this one kid was picking on her for having red hair and freckles. She wanted to be like the other kids but she couldn’t change those things about herself. Finally Gemma made friends at her local swimming pool with a girl who wished she had red hair like Gemma's. The two girls became great friends and she learned to ignore the mean girl's taunts at school.
Bullying: How to Handle It
So now you know that bullying is a big problem that affects a lot of kids, but what do you do if someone is bullying you? Our advice falls into two categories: preventing a run-in with the bully, and what to do if you end up face-to-face with the bully.
Preventing a run-in with a bully:
Don't give the bully a chance. As much as you can, avoid the bully. You can't go into hiding or skip class, of course. But if you can take a different route and avoid him or her, do so.
Stand tall and be brave. When you're scared of another person, you're probably not feeling your bravest. But sometimes just acting brave is enough to stop a bully. How does a brave person look and act? Stand tall and you'll send the message: "Don't mess with me." It's easier to feel brave when you feel good about yourself. See the next tip!
Feel good about you. Nobody's perfect, but what can you do to look and feel your best? Maybe you'd like to be more fit. If so, maybe you'll decide to get more exercise, watch less TV, and eat healthier snacks. Or maybe you feel you look best when you shower in the morning before school. If so, you could decide to get up a little earlier so you can be clean and refreshed for the school day.
Get a buddy (and be a buddy). Two is better than one if you're trying to avoid being bullied. Make a plan to walk with a friend or two on the way to school or recess or lunch or wherever you think you might meet the bully. Offer to do the same if a friend is having bully trouble. Get involved if you see bullying going on in your school — tell an adult, stick up for the kid being bullied, and tell the bully to stop.
If the bully says or does something to you:
Ignore the bully. If you can, try your best to ignore the bully's threats. Pretend you don't hear them and walk away quickly to a place of safety. Bullies want a big reaction to their teasing and meanness. Acting as if you don't notice and don't care is like giving no reaction at all, and this just might stop a bully's behavior.
Stand up for yourself. Pretend to feel really brave and confident. Tell the bully "No! Stop it!" in a loud voice. Then walk away, or run if you have to. Kids also can stand up for each other by telling a bully to stop teasing or scaring someone else, and then walk away together. If a bully wants you to do something that you don't want to do — say "no!" and walk away. If you do what a bully says to do, they will likely keep bullying you. Bullies tend to bully kids who don't stick up for themselves.
Don't bully back. Don't hit, kick, or push back to deal with someone bullying you or your friends. Fighting back just satisfies a bully and it's dangerous, too, because someone could get hurt. You're also likely to get in trouble. It's best to stay with others, stay safe, and get help from an adult.
Don't show your feelings. Plan ahead. How can you stop yourself from getting angry or showing you're upset? Try distracting yourself (counting backwards from 100, spelling the word 'turtle' backwards, etc.) to keep your mind occupied until you are out of the situation and somewhere safe where you can show your feelings.
Tell an adult. If you are being bullied, it's very important to tell an adult. Find someone you trust and go and tell them what is happening to you. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom helpers at school can all help to stop bullying. Sometimes bullies stop as soon as a teacher finds out because they're afraid that they will be punished by parents. This is not tattling on someone who has done something small — bullying is wrong and it helps if everyone who gets bullied or sees someone being bullied speaks up.
What Happens to Bullies?
In the end, most bullies wind up in trouble. If they keep acting mean and hurtful, sooner or later they may have only a few friends left — usually other kids who are just like them. The power they wanted slips away fast. Other kids move on and leave bullies behind.
Luis lived in fear of Brian — every day he would give his lunch money to Brian but he still beat him up. He said that if Luis ever told anyone he would beat him up in front of all the other kids in his class. Luis even cried one day and another girl told everyone that he was a baby and had been crying. Luis was embarrassed and felt so bad about himself and about school. Finally, Brian got caught threatening Luis and they were both sent to the school counselor. Brian got in a lot of trouble at home. Over time, Brian learned how to make friends and ask his parents for lunch money. Luis never wanted to be friends with Brian but he did learn to act strong and more confident around him.
Some kids who bully blame others. But every kid has a choice about how to act. Some kids who bully realize that they don't get the respect they want by threatening others. They may have thought that bullying would make them popular, but they soon find out that other kids just think of them as trouble-making losers.
The good news is that kids who are bullies can learn to change their behavior. Teachers, counselors, and parents can help. So can watching kids who treat others fairly and with respect. Bullies can change if they learn to use their power in positive ways. In the end, whether bullies decide to change their ways is up to them. Some bullies turn into great kids. Some bullies never learn.
But no one needs to put up with a bully's behavior. If you or someone you know is bothered by a bully, talk to someone you trust. Everyone has the right to feel safe, and being bullied makes people feel unsafe. Tell someone about it and keep telling until something is done.

Teaching Kids not to Bully

Teaching Kids Not to Bully

It can be shocking and upsetting to learn that your child has gotten in trouble for picking on others or been labeled a bully.
As difficult as it may be to process this news, it's important to deal with it right away. Whether the bullying is physical or verbal, if it's not stopped it can lead to more aggressive antisocial behavior and interfere with your child's success in school and ability to form and sustain friendships.

Understanding Bullying Behavior
Kids bully for many reasons. Some bully because they feel insecure. Picking on someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker provides a feeling of being more important, popular, or in control. In other cases, kids bully because they simply don't know that it's unacceptable to pick on kids who are different because of size, looks, race, or religion.

In some cases bullying is a part of an ongoing pattern of defiant or aggressive behavior. These kids are likely to need help learning to manage anger and hurt, frustration, or other strong emotions. They may not have the skills they need to cooperate with others. Professional counseling can often help them learn to deal with their feelings, curb their bullying, and improve their social skills.

Some kids who bully at school and in settings with their peers are copying behavior that they see at home. Kids who are exposed to aggressive and unkind interactions in the family often learn to treat others the same way. And kids who are on the receiving end of taunting learn that bullying can translate into control over children they perceive as weak.
Helping Kids Stop Bullying

Let your child know that bullying is unacceptable and that there will be serious consequences at home, school, and in the community if it continues.
Try to understand the reasons behind your child's behavior. In some cases, kids bully because they have trouble managing strong emotions like anger, frustration, or insecurity. In other cases, kids haven't learned cooperative ways to work out conflicts and understand differences.

Be sure to:
Take bullying seriously. Make sure your kids understand that you will not tolerate bullying at home or anywhere else. Establish rules about bullying and stick to them. If you punish your child by taking away privileges, be sure it's meaningful. For example, if your child bullies other kids via email, text messages, or a social networking site, dock phone or computer privileges for a period of time. If your child acts aggressively at home, with siblings or others, put a stop to it. Teach more appropriate (and nonviolent) ways to react, like walking away.
Teach kids to treat others with respect and kindness. Teach your child that it is wrong to ridicule differences (i.e., race, religion, appearance, special needs, gender, economic status) and try to instill a sense of empathy for those who are different. Consider getting involved together in a community group where your child can interact with kids who are different.
Learn about your child's social life. Look for insight into the factors that may be influencing your child's behavior in the school environment (or wherever the bullying is occurring). Talk with parents of your child's friends and peers, teachers, guidance counselors, and the school principal.

Get them involved in activities outside of school so that they meet and develop friendships with other kids.
Encourage good behavior. Positive reinforcement can be more powerful than negative discipline. Catch your kids being good — and when they handle situations in ways that are constructive or positive, take notice and praise them for it.

Set a good example. Think carefully about how you talk around your kids and how you handle conflict and problems. If you behave aggressively — toward or in front of your kids — chances are they'll follow your example. Instead, point out positives in others, rather than negatives. And when conflicts arise in your own life, be open about the frustrations you have and how you cope with your feelings.

Starting at Home
When looking for the influences on your child's behavior, look first at what's happening at home. Kids who live with yelling, name-calling, putdowns, harsh criticism, or physical anger from a sibling or parent/caregiver may act that out in other settings.
It's natural — and common — for kids to fight with their siblings at home. And unless there's a risk of physical violence it's wise not to get involved. But monitor the name-calling and any physical altercations and be sure to talk to each child regularly about what's acceptable and what's not.

It's important to keep your own behavior in check too. Watch how you talk to your kids, and how you react to your own strong emotions when they're around. There will be situations that warrant discipline and constructive criticism. But take care not to let that slip into name-calling and accusations. If you're not pleased with your child's behavior, stress that it's the behavior that you'd like your child to change, and you have confidence that he or she can do it.
If your family is going through a stressful life event that you feel may have contributed to your child's behavior, reach out for help from the resources at school and in your community. Guidance counselors, pastors, therapists, and your doctor can help.

Getting Help
To help a child stop bullying, talk with teachers, guidance counselors, and other school officials who can help you identify situations that lead to bullying and provide assistance.
Your doctor also might be able to help. If your child has a history of arguing, defiance, and trouble controlling anger, consider an evaluation with a therapist or behavioral health professional.

As difficult and frustrating as it can be to help kids stop bullying, remember that bad behavior won't just stop on its own. Think about the success and happiness you want your kids to find in school, work, and relationships throughout life, and know that curbing bullying now is progress toward those goals.

When your Child is the Bully

When Your Child is the Bully: Five Important Issues to Address by Derek Randel.

"The phone rang one night last week and it was Mr. Scott, my son's math teacher. He was informing me that my son, Ben, was hitting other students and even threatened Mr. Scott. In our home, we do not like this math teacher very much because he is always picking on Ben. Why would my son bully anyone? We are an affluent and loving family."If a teacher calls home with these concerns, should a parent be upset with the teacher? Should they immediately take their child's side? Why would they listen to a teacher and assume that the teacher is correct? Unfortunately, this is what is happening too often. Maybe we should consider there might be some truth in what the teacher is calling you about. If your child's teacher calls telling you that your child is bullying others and threatening the teacher, then this needs to be a wake up call.

I would recommend to any parent if they're told their child is a bully to look for the following: Uncontrolled anger, history of discipline problems, intolerance for differences, violent or aggressive behavior, expression of violence in writings or drawings, cruelty to animals, and destruction of property. These are just a few of numerous telling behaviors. Threatening a teacher should get your attention and get the child expelled. Over a five-year period in the United States, 1.3 million teachers were victims to non-fatal crimes at school. This is a growing problem that needs to be addressed. In Ontario, Canada, 40% of teachers report being bullied by students. In Finland, nearly one in five Finnish teachers and one in three principals are targeted with bullying and mental violence by students' parents. In the United Kingdom, 61% of teachers have experienced verbal insults and threats and 34% had been subjected to "physical aggression". This is a serious problem that no parent should take lightly.

steps to take:
1. Discuss the topic of firearms
The easy access to firearms has led to numerous school shootings and accidental shootings.
It would seem like a common sense move to keep them away from children.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible. You must talk to your child about this topic. Owning a gun is fine. However, they need to be locked and placed in a secure location. Having trigger locks is also a good idea. The topic MUST be brought up in discussions with your children.
2. Control the amount of violent television shows and video games.
There's evidence that people become less sensitive to violence after observing it over and over. When children play violent video games for an extended period of time, the following can occur:
Tendency to be more aggressive
More likely to have confrontation with their teachers
Possibly encourage fights with their peers
Decline in school achievements
Increases in aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game. Repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns. The interactive quality of video games differs from passively viewing television or movies because it allows players to become active participants in the game's script. Players are rewarded for their violent acts by moving up levels resulting in playing for longer time periods.
3. Parenting skills can/must be addressed
Most of the time, bullies are also victims and it could be coming from the home. Are you, your spouse, or a sibling a bully at home? Does your child frequently get criticized at home? Does he/she get spanked or hit? Is there an abusive parent in the home? Does anyone yell or use name-calling or put-downs? Many times we do not recognize the habits we have. However, addressing our parenting can make life much more enjoyable for all.
4. Address supervision
Is there a lack of supervision at home? Maybe the child has too much time alone. Children get into more trouble between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. because of having too much free time. Limit your child's unsupervised time. Also, spend more time with your child and their friends by inviting their friends over while you're home.
5. Work with the schools, not against the schools
Meet with school officials. Let them know there is a problem and ask them, "How can we work together to solve this?" Realize this may just be a wake up call that should be stopped before it becomes a huge habit. Working together with the teacher and principal should be more helpful than working against each other and passing the blame. This is extremely important because we won't have to face this situation alone. They may have dealt with this topic numerous times in the past. Yes, your child could be a bully. We want to prepare our children for the real world and not protect them from it. Bailing your child out from consequences can lead to you needing to bail him out of jail in the future. Students must be held accountable for their actions.

What is a Bully?

What is a Bully?

Bullying is about the abuse of power. Children who bully abuse their power to hurt others, deliberately and repeatedly. They are often hot-tempered, inflexible, overly confident, and don’t like to follow rules. They often lack empathy and may even enjoy inflicting pain on others. They often desire to dominate and control others, perceive hostile intent where none exists, overreact aggressively to ambiguous situations, and hold beliefs that support violence.
In the preschool years, bullies often rely on direct verbal bullying and physical power to control material objects or territory. They may lack the skills to interact in more socially appropriate ways.

In the elementary school years, bullies are more likely to use threats and physical force, combined with direct verbal bullying, to make victims do things against their will. At this age, some children begin to use indirect bullying to exclude peers from their social circle.
In the middle and high school years, bullies rely on direct verbal bullying such as name-calling and making threatening remarks, as well as physical bullying such as pushing and hitting. Although both boys and girls engage in physical bullying, girls are more likely to participate in indirect, relational bullying, such as rumor-spreading and social exclusion. They often use the Internet or cell phones to send these hurtful messages. While boys tend to rely on bullying to enhance their physical dominance, girls tend to use it to enhance their social status.
Sometimes children bully in groups. Children may join in because they look up to the bully and want to impress him or her, or because they are afraid and do not want to be attacked themselves.

Examining the Effects on The Bully
Besides hurting others, bullies damage themselves. Each time bullies hurt other children, they become even more removed emotionally from the suffering of their victims. They learn to justify their actions by believing their victims deserve to be bullied. They also learn that the way to get what they want from others is through force. Bullies often fail to develop the social skills of sharing, reciprocating, empathizing, and negotiating that form the basis for lasting friendships.
As they mature into adulthood, children who have bullied others often show higher rates of:
Antisocial behavior
Carrying weapons to school
Dropping out of high school
Convictions for crime
Difficulty controlling their emotions
Traffic violations
Convictions for drunk driving
Adults who have been bullied as children may be more likely to allow their own children to bully others, thus raising a new generation of bullies.

Bullies need not experience these devastating long-term effects if their patterns of behavior are changed before they become habitual and entrenched. Bullying prevention strategies are most effective when applied early to children who are young or have just begun to bully—the earlier the better.

Beginning in the preschool years, adults can teach children important bullying prevention skills and guide children as they practice using these skills.

Although it's never too late to change a bully's patterns of behavior, these habitual patterns are usuallly much more difficult to change in later years.

Social skills that form an important foundation for bullying prevention include:
Solving social problems
Sharing voluntarily
Interacting assertively
Showing empathy toward others

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate, hostile and repeated behaviour by one or more people,
which is intended to harm others. Bullying takes many forms, and can include may different
behaviours, such as:
• physical violence and attacks
• verbal taunts, name-calling and put-downs
• threats and intimidation
• extortion or stealing of money and possessions
• exclusion from the peer group
Bullying is the assertion of power through aggression. Its forms change with age: school playground bullying, sexual harassment. gang attacks, date violence, assault, marital violence,
child abuse, workplace harassment and elder abuse (Pepler and Craig, 1997)
“Bullying is not about anger . It is not a conflict to be resolved, it’s about contempt –a powerful
feeling of dislike toward someone considered to be worthless, inferior or undeserving of respect.
Contempt comes with three apparent psychological advantages that allow kids to harm others
without feeling empathy, compassion or shame. These are: a sense of entitlement, that
they have the right to hurt or control others, an intolerance towards difference, and a freedom to
exclude, bar, isolate and segregate others” (Barbara Coloroso “The Bully, the Bullied and
the Bystander)
Bullying Myths and Facts:
Myth: “Bullying is just, stage, a normal part of life. I went through it my kids will too. ”
Fact: Bullying is not “normal” or socially acceptable behaviour. We give bullies power by our acceptance of this behaviour.
Myth: “If I tell someone, it will just make it worse.”
Fact: Research shows that bullying will stop when adults in authority and peers get involved .
Myth: “Just stand up for yourself and hit them back”
Fact: While there are some times when people can be forced to defend themselves, hitting back
usually makes the bullying worse and increases the risk for serious physical harm.
Myth: “Bullying is a school problem, the teachers should handle it”
Fact: Bullying is a broader social problem that often happens outside of schools, on the street, at
shopping centers, the local pool, summer camp and in the adult workplace.”
Myth: “People are born bullies”
Fact: Bullying is a learned behaviour and behaviors can be changed if there is a desire to change.
Fact: Other kids are watching 85% of the time when one kid bullies another kid. Adults like teachers or parents hardly ever see a bully being mean to someone else.