Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

PEN OPL-TerriNations

Terri Nations, PEN OPL--Sweetwater County

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 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.

Helping Kids Deal with Bullies

1. A common contributing factor to bullying is a lack of effective supervision or guidance of young people in school settings. If recurring incidences of taunting are happening on school grounds to one or more children parents often need to find out what personnel is supposed to be supervising at the particular time and place that the problem occurs.

2. Once a parent has some details and if they have a good relationship with one or more administrators or teachers they are often able to discreetly tell staff members what is going on and ask for help. Skilled school personnel can usually figure out how to intervene in ways that do not reveal the source of their information. It is important to locate people who can be discreet as a child’s fears about retribution are certainly not unwarranted suppose

3. It is also helpful to remember that bullies can be suffering from stress or parental absence in their homes. Once informed, schools can offer children who are “acting out” towards others guidance, support or counseling. Such services can make a difference in the short and long term behavior of the children involved. ed to be supervising at the particular time and place that the problem occurs.

4. Unfortunately schools do always have the resources to supervise or offer good counsel to troubled students. In this case parents can try to identify even one adult on staff who might keep an “eye out” for their child. If a child who is being targeted has a watchful teacher or counselor who can intervene when possible and/or offer a shoulder to lean on when things are tough it can help. Parents can also feel less alone with the problem if they have someone to keep in touch with on a regular basis in the school.

5. Giving support to a “victimized” child at home can also be helpful. Parents naturally become alarmed at reports of consistent taunting and teasing. It can be hard for a Mom or Dad to listen to their child recounts all of the “gory” details of the incidents you describe without getting upset. However, if parents can manage to listen to stories and sympathize with difficulties in a relatively calm way it can help a child “get out the stress” and feel more relaxed at the end of a long day.

6. Sometimes parents are quick to offer solutions to complicated problems. Parental suggestions can be useful but it can also be helpful for Mom and Dad to elicit their child’s thoughts about possible ways to solve major challenges such as how to handle bullies. If Mom or Dad can help their child produce a few of their own solutions it can build their confidence and self-esteem

7. Sometimes including adult friends, relative and other children who have witnessed or survived incidents of bullying in family discussions can help as well. “Putting a number of heads together” to generate possible solutions can produce a variety of ideas that can help.

Posted in Children’s Behavior

It can be challenging for parents to sort through ways to get thoughtful help from their child’s school and/or to offer days or weeks of consistent support and encouragement to their child but this kind of ongoing attention and understanding can shift even difficult situations like bullying to a good resolution.

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Comments on: "Bullying Is a Big Deal" (8)

  1. Hi,
    I am having a problem with a girl in my son’s class. She is constantly hitting him. Problem is, he is in kindergarten and I honestly don’t think the school is taking it seriously because of it. There is always an “excuse” when I speak to them… they say :”she is an only child”; “she has never had any contact with other children”… it just pisses me of!!!!!! I spoke to the teacher 2 weeks ago she said: “Trust me, he is not the problem because she does that to other kids in the class too”. Why isn’t anything being done about it? He is so sweet and never hit the girl back, but what I think is that if he ever does HE will be the “bad guy” simply because he is the BOY.. that is just not fair. Plus the girl’s mom goes to the bus stop and very loudly says “if he ever comes near you, you get away from him” like he is the bully!!!! And all the other parents stare.. is so frustrating and embarrassing. I had to deal with bullying myself and would never, ever want my children to go through this. I don’t know what to do. I am a little desperate at the moment :\

    • Carla,
      First I would look up and copy the page in your school policy booklet regarding physical contact between students- this may be in a section on behaviors, bullying ect. Take this into the school and ask for a meeting with both the principal and the school counselor. Point out all the issues you described, how you feel there has not been an intervention because she is a girl and that if the situation ware reversed you doubt the school would be so lenient. Policies need to be applied equally to all students. Ask the school if they would be willing to do two things. 1. Meet with the girl’s parent to discuss the incidents with your son, discuss the school policy, how it affects all areas, bus, playground and classroom and 2. have the school counselor give some general conflict resolution lessons to the whole kindergarten class. Then the issue is addressed directly with both the little girl, her parent and the children are also given an opportunity to learn replacement behaviors.

    • Hi I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s bullying situation. If you feel like you have addressed your concerns with your child’s teacher and they are not being taken seriously then I think it’s time to take your concerns to the principal. If you can have some specific incidents in mind or written down that may help when visiting with the principal. Also, have some ideas about what you would like to have happen. Is the teacher going to address the whole class? Can the principal lead an assembly and discuss bullying to the school? Can staff review with students what to do if THEY are being bullied? Good luck!

    • School Districts should have a bullying policy, safeguards and reporting procedures for parents, students and staff. I would refer to those procedures for information on how to prevent bullying and how to report it. If the district has not implemented a bullying policy, then I would contact the principle and request a meeting with all persons involved to discuss ways to help your child feel safe at school and at the bus stop. I would encourage my child to stay as far away from the child that does the hitting and have him report to an adult every time that the child hits, so that they have documentation of the aggressive behavior. Bullying is hard for all children and there should be zero tolerance for the behavior.

    • Look up in school handbook what the school policy is regarding bullying. Next talk to the principal and let him know that you would be willing to meet with the parents of the child who is doing the bullying to help find a solution to the bullying. We never know what is going on in another families’ life. Sometimes talking about the issues in a non-threatening way can work wonders and show others that we care.

  2. Jennifer said:

    One “quick solution” that we unfortunately see is parents teaching their children how to be cruel in response to the bullying. I like your ideas about letting the student think of some of their own solutions and bringing in outside help. Bullying is a problem in every school, and one that everyone needs to be right on top of.

  3. Tammy Wilson said:

    You hit so many points right on Terri. I have worked with children my whole adult life and have seen bulling from every angle. It is one of the hardest things a child and parent can go through. I do beleive video games, TV, and movies that are violent are emotionaly hurting our young people. Very good blog aot of good ideas.

  4. Kelly Rogers said:

    I completely agree! The surprising truth is that bullying can occur at any age. From 2 year olds to adults, people can feel the need to intimidate others in order to feel superior. Adults (especially parents) and children must all set a positive example for others in working together and getting along. Children are sponges; you may not realize what negative characteristics they are picking up from others, TV, movies, or video games. It is important to have an open discussion with them about what they see and hear. Discuss what is positive and negative behavior and how they can help someone who is being bullied. We all need to look out for each other!!

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