If you think bullying in schools isn't an issue, think again. Twenty percent of school children have “done some bullying.” One out of every four children is bullied in the United States. No matter where you live, every parent needs to know more about bullying. Keep reading to learn about this serious problem.
Bullying always includes the following three elements:
- An imbalance of power
- The intent to harm
- Threat of further aggression
It is a deliberate act of aggression done to a person who is seen as weak. The older neighborhood kid who “owns” the block, the popular girl who spreads gossip about specific girls, and the smooth-talking boy who quietly taunts the new kid are all examples of bullies.
Bullies do what they do because they enjoy the power, the instant gratification. Most likely, they have been raised in an environment where competition is valued over cooperation. Also, communities contribute to the bullying problem when they downplay hazing incidents, perpetuate racial discrimination, and “look the other way” when popular kids get caught bullying.
The more bullies get away with their actions, the more they feel entitled to keep doing them.
Bullying happens at the end of the hall, in the shadows, and by the secluded corner of the playground. Bullies make it clear to the targeted child that tattling will mean more terror than ever. They use intimidation to keep targeted children under their thumb. Now and then, they remind the targeted child who’s really in charge. Usually, the targeted child accepts their fate, and the cycle continues.
Signs of Being Bullied
Be on the lookout for signs of bullying in your child and children you care about. Common red flags of a child being bullied include:
- Not talking about peers anymore
- Sudden disinterest in school
- Desire to be left alone a lot
- Grades drop dramatically
- Takes an unusual route to and from school
- Looks upset or seems moody much of the time
It may appear that most bullies act alone. However, their real power comes from the bystanders who watch, support, or join in with the bully. Many children don’t like watching bullies hurt other kids. However, they silently give support when they keep it a secret from adults.
Here are a few things you can do about school bullying as a parent.
Teach your kids what bullying looks like, how to help the targeted child, and to always tell a trusted adult.
Encourage them to do the right thing, and assure them that you will help.br /> Take note of any odd behavior that might indicate your child has been targeted by a school bully.
If your child is the bully, work with the school and seek support for your family. The sooner a bully gets redirected, the better their future looks.
Curbing a bullying problem in schools is like getting rid of stubborn crabgrass. You have to dig out the entire root system or it will just come back. Be prepared to stand up for children who feel trapped and afraid. By understanding more about bullying, you can help break the cycle of fear in your community schools.