Archive for the ‘Bullying’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Are you a bully??

Bullies are not necessarily just children. Adolescents and adults alike can also be bullies. Bullying behaviors can be detrimental to those around us, as bullying really does have long-term effects on children and on adults. Here are a few quick questions to consider in determining whether or not you are a bully. Of course, no one ever wants to think that they are a bully, but answer the following questions to see.

1.) Do you like to tease or taunt those around you?
2.) Do you pick on animals or kids/adults that are smaller than you or that you have power over?
3.) If you do tease people, do you enjoy seeing them upset?
4.) Do you tend to blame others for things that seem to go wrong in your life?
5.) Do you get angry alot and stay angry for long periods of time?
6.) Do you get jealous or mad when those around you succeed at something?
7.) Do you laugh and think it is funny when people around you make mistakes?
8.) Do you like to destroy other people’s possessions?
9.) If you play a game do you have to win?
10.)If you lose at something, do you worry about what others will think of you?
11.) Do you want others to think that you are toughest or best at everything?
12. Do you take revenge on people that hurt you?

If you answered yes to one or two of these questions, then you may be on your way to becoming a bully. If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then you probably are already a bully and need to find a way to change the way you are acting. Bullies can deal with their feelings and work through these behaviors. Remember, no one likes a bully really and most people go out of their way to avoid them at all costs. If you need help in changing your behavior, there are alot of people out there that can help you and are available to help you change if you want to!!

Adapted from Bullies are a Pain in the Brain, copyright 1997 by Trevor Romain.

PostHeaderIcon How to be Bully-Free

Bullying at school is such a long standing problem, however schools and parents have become so much more proactive in the past several years to help solve this issue. If you as a parent think your child is being bullied, then ask your child. Most children will NOT tell parents this information because they are truly embarrassed or afraid to say anything. Adults should take the lead and ask their child about behaviors in their classroom not just about academics. If you suspect that your child is being bullied then here are very simple questions that you can ask your child.
“Do you have a bully in your classroom, a kid that is always mean to everyone?”
“Does the bully ever say anything to you?”
“How do you respond when the bully picks on you?”
“Who does the bully pick on most of the time?”
“How do you know that he/she is a bully?” “What exactly does he/she do that makes you think that?”

If your child tells you that they are being bullied, then by all means believe them. Ask for the details of what is happening and write them down so you have the correct information.
Without a doubt, the very last thing that a parent should do is confront the bully or the bully’s parents. This will not help your child and will most likely make things worse for your child. Also, do not blame your child for what has happened, bullying is never the victim’s fault and they did nothing to cause this.
What should be done is to contact your child’s teacher and request a meeting privately with him/her. Bring the written information with you and ask for your child’s teacher’s input about the bullying problem. Find out what the teacher plans on doing about the bullying problem in order to put a stop to it. Help your child develop assertiveness skills in order to be more bully resistant. As a parent, make a real effort to spend time with your child and encourage him/her to talk about how they feel and to develop their social skills. Confident children with good social skills are much less likely to be bullied than kids who are not assertive and struggle socially. Remember, as parents you are your child’s primary teacher.

Excerpt from The Bully Free Classroom, by Allan L. Beane, Ph.D.

PostHeaderIcon How do we stop bullying in schools?

Absolutely, the best way to stop bullying in schools is for parents to change the way they parent their children at home.  Of course, this is much easier said than done and everyone parents their children differently.  Bullies, however come from homes where physical punishment is used and children have been taught that physical violence is the way to handle problems and “get their way.”  In addition, bullies usually come from homes where the parents are often fighting with each other and violence has been modeled for them.  The involvement of the parents is often lacking in the bullies’ life and their seems to be little warmth.  With all of that said, how can we ”fix” the bullying problem at school.  Early intervention and effective discipline/boundaries is truly the best way to stop bullying, but we as parents of the victims or as therapists can not change the bullies home environment.  What can be done about bullying at the school level:

1.) Most school programs that address bullying use a multi-faceted approach to the problem and this usually involves counseling of some sort either by peers, a school counselor, teachers, or the principal.

2.) A good place to start in a school in trying to address a bullying problem, which seems to have become increasingly prevalent, is to hand out questionnaires to all of the students and teachers discussing if bullying is occurring as well as defining exactly what constitutes bullying in the school environment.  The questionnaire is a wonderful tool that allows the school to see exactly the extent of bullying occurring and what types of bullying are occuring.  It serves a good benchmark of where to start to address the problem.

3.) Get the children’s parents involved in a bullying program.  If parents of the bullies and the victims are not aware of what is going on at school, then the whole bullying program will not be effective.  Stopping bullying in school takes a team and concentrated effort on everyone’s parts.  Bullying should also be discussed during parent-teacher conferences as well as PTA meetings.  Parental awareness is key.

4.) In the classroom setting, all teachers should work with the students on bullying.  Often times even the teacher is being bullied in the classroom and a program should be set up that implements teaching about bullying.  Children understand modeling behaviors and role-play and acting out bullying situations is a very effective tool that can be used.  Have students ”act” out a bullying situation.   Also, rules that involve bullying behaviors should be clearly posted.  Schools could also utilize the services of mental health professionals in their area to come in and speak to the students about bullying behaviors and how it directly affects the victims.

5.) Lastly, schools need to look at where bullying is usually occurring from the questionnaire that students/teachers filled out.  Look at the school environment and make sure their is enough adult supervision at school in order to lessen and prevent child bullying at school.  

A child that has to endure bullying behaviors usually suffers from low self-esteem and their ability to learn and be successful at school is dramatically lessened.  By implementing a good anti-bullying program, schools will be able to see a drastic reduction of bullying in their schools.  For parents, education of bullying behaviors as well as talking to your children about bullying will help all children have a better school environment and allow children to feel safe and secure at school.  Children that are bullies need to be taught empathy for others’ feelings in order to change their behaviors and a zero tolerance policy for bullying needs to be the “attitude” of everyone at the school.