Unfortunately bullying in schools has always been a major problem. Not to mention, due to the explosion in use of social media- cyberbullying is a major issue. The good news is that there is protective software to eliminate that. However, the focus here is how to decrease the odds of school bullying.
Firstly, let’s look into why bullying happens. Both children and adults can be bullies, and they are unhappy individuals with low self esteem. If they see someone who is a good target to take their anger and frustration out on- that is where it starts. High risk targets of bullying are those who are different- those who stand out. Many victims of bullying are either very overweight, underweight, appear or act differently, and unfortunately children with special needs such as autism, ADHD, or dyslexia are at a very high risk. Unfortunately the effects of bullying can be quite dangerous and serious, as the victim’s self esteem and performance at school will suffer. If the victim never seeks help to overcome the effects, he or she will likely live a very unproductive life. Depression, anxiety and apathy are also common traits in victims. Sadly many teen suicides have occurred.
Even though there is more and more awareness of the damaging effects of bullying- it is still a huge problem. Children however can be taught on how to decrease the odds of it happening to them- regardless of whether they are at a risk of it or not. Even though it is recommended to report bullying to a teacher or a parent immediately- children firstly need to learn a tactic that has a good chance of repelling the bully before needing to resort to that.
Bullies are always looking for a reaction for their actions. They want to see the victim cry. They want to see the victim sad and depressed. They want to see how “powerful” they are. If the bully does not get the reaction he or she wants, there is a good chance that he or she will give up. Children (and even adults) need to learn to protect themselves from bullies by not reacting at all or even being nice to them! Nothing will confuse them more than that. Talking back at the bully will just flame the fire and create even more problems. However, if this tactic fails, and the bullying is appearing to continue- then children need to report what is happening to teachers and their parents.
This advice works only for verbal abuse. If there is physical bullying happening, then that needs to be reported immediately. Children also need to realize how important it is to not be bystanders if they witness bullying to someone else. Many times kids in this position do want to help, but are afraid for understandable reasons. What kids in this position can do is report the bullying to an authority in private. Chances are in that case- they will be fine. If the bully suspects that someone ratted on him or her- then the child who stepped up will need to also learn this tactic. Every child needs to know how to stay safe from bullying!
We homeschool for many reasons, but persistent bullying was on the list. Sadly, the worst perpetrators were the children of teachers at the school, which limited what the administration was willing to do about it.
Homeschooling isn’t right for everyone, but our children are thriving! They are active in AWANA, sports, church and 4H so they still have many social outlets and have to learn to get along with others, but without the pervasiveness of bullying.
I am so sorry to hear this about the bullying situation, but glad to hear your kids are thriving in a homeschooling environment. It’s great that they have outlets for socializing. Very important, thanks for the comment.
Great advice! It is unfortunate that these are conversations we need to have with our young children.
Thanks, and yes we definitely have to educate them and prepare them for the possibility.
Such great advice. It’s too bad that so many people are so insecure that bullying others is how they feel good about themselves.
It is sad but unfortunately it is a fact and all we can do is keep the awareness up, thanks for the comment.
Great advice, Miriam. Having to work overtime for the reaction that they want is often too much work for a verbal/emotional bully. And, indeed, repaying their bullying efforts with kindness is sometimes so far out of their own state-of-mind &/or comfort zone that they will choose to back off.
I think that the greatest safeguard against bullying though starts with the morals that parents instill within their children from the very start. If parents proactively dissuade their children from bullying behavior & deliberately talk with them about it starting from a young age, rather than avoiding it & treating the issue as if it will never be an issue in their lives one way or the other, that could be one of the best answer to the problem. I say that because I’ve seen too many bullies who have had either absent or, for the most part, disengaged parents raising them.
You are absolutely right Rebecca about everything you said. Kids really need to understand that starving a bully the attention they are craving will usually get their “bullying ways” to die off.