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Bullying in School: Is Your Child Facing Bullying at School?

What Can Parents Do To Help Protect Their Child from Bullying in School?


By Latricia Wilson

Latricia Wilson

Bullying in school is nothing new. Throughout history individuals have bullied others in efforts to force someone to submit to some term of agreement. Bullying can be an individual act, group act, or even a structural institutional act carried out by policy makers and corporations collaborating together to create an imbalance of power.

Some forms of bullying abuse include neglect, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Bullying is a social ill in which affects society as a whole. Bullying behavior can be acted out by anyone, anywhere for any reason.

There are several forms of bullying abuse that are damaging, but one of the most severe forms of bullying is childhood bullying. Bullying in school is especially disruptive to children and can negatively effect success, relationships and opportunities for the rest of their lives.

This form of bullying is truly detrimental to society because it causes many children to become anti-social and get involved in negative ant-social activities. Unfortunately, many times childhood bullying in school and out of school, including cyberbullying, is not easily noticed by parents, educators, and bystanders when the initial conflict begins.

Many times parents are at a loss about what steps they should take to protect their child after they have been made aware that their child is being victimized.

Some parents even ignore their child's bullying abuse because they too feel just as helpless as the child experiencing the abuse. Some parents do not intervene when their child is being bullied because they believe bullying in school to be an unavoidable part of childhood. This misconceived belief is the reason why many bullied children are emotionally, mentally and academically scared deeply in during childhood.

Bullying in School:
Effects and Warning Signs of Bullied Children

The effects of childhood bullying can leave much deeper permanent scars on victims when parents do not recognize warning signs. These scars can be devastating; more so when parents aware that their child is being bullied, fail to reasonably protect them. Without parental prevention and intervention support childhood bullying can completely isolate the child victim.

Whenever a child is isolated from their peers through teasing, threats and physical assault without immediate parental support, they may take on antisocial personality traits. The psychological effects of these traits on victims may lead to drug abuse, alcohol abuse, suicide, homicidal retaliation acts and conduct disorders. Bullying in school should never be taken lightly.

Often times parents may think their child is having adjustment issues when their child may be being bullied in school. There are warning signs children often show verbally and nonverbally when they are being bullied such as:

  • Being frightened to walk to and from school

  • Not wanting to get on the school bus

  • Suddenly feeling ill in the mornings

  • Coming home with clothes and books destroyed

  • Losing pocket money

  • Excessive sleeping and insufficient sleep

Parents should respond positively when their child displays warning signs of bullying in school. The lines of communication between a parent and child should remain open so that the parent may know that their child is being bullied when the harassment begins. While communicating, it is equally important that parents really listen to what the child has to say. Parents can help boost their child's self esteem by finding an activity or organization the child can be apart of that the child enjoys. Parents can also invest time in enhancing the child's natural talents such as singing, acting, playing sports, or dancing.

Bullying in School:
Methods Parents Can Use to Protect Child From Bullying

Once the parent knows, their child is being bullied the parent should never silence the child by telling them the abuse is a normal phase of life. Parents definitely shouldn't attempt to downplay the situation by telling their child that they are being oversensitive. Too often children are blamed by their own parents for causing the bully to target them. There are ways that parents can help protect their child from further bullying in school. Some ways would be to :

  • Take bullying seriously. This seems obvious, but too often bullying in school is dismissed and the victim is told not to be a "tattle-tale".

  • Contact your child's school and report what is going on. Find out the school's policy on bullying in school and insist that appropriate action be taken to ensure your child's safety.

  • Meet with parents in the presence of a mediator or law enforcement.

It is also helpful for parents to role play potential bully encounters with their child. Through role playing parents can teach the child how to better react and control emotions if the child finds his/herself being harassed in the neighborhood or at school.

Studies have shown that bullies tend to become more aggressive when victims show emotional weakness through verbal and nonverbal reactions.

Children that engage in bullying at school can also become infuriated if the victim completely ignores the harassment. Children with attention seeking personality traits tend to go through greater extremes to provoke a response from targeted victims if they are completely ignored. Although victims shouldn't give the bully ammunition by showing emotion, it is just as important that victims do not try to completely ignore the bully.

Bullying in School:
What Parents Can Do if School Administrators Ignore the Problem or Bullying Continues

Parents may have to take extreme measures to protect their child from bullying in school if the conflict is not resolved by meeting with school administration, changing classes or meeting with bully's parents. Whenever a parent and child pleas for help are ignored it may be necessary to:

  • Meet with school superintendent

  • Address child local school board commissioners

  • Transfer child to different school

  • Any time a child is being physically assaulted the parent shouldn't hesitate to get law enforcement involved.

Bullying in School

Bullying in School:
Mistakes Parents May Make in Dealing with Bullying

Many times parents make the mistake of confronting their child's aggressor. This confrontation almost always makes the situation worse. Confronting your child's aggressor does not necessarily help to stop the bully abuse your child is experiencing.

Another mistake some parents make is downplaying their child's bullying at school. Downplaying bully abuse is just as neglectful as downplaying sexual abuse. Parents must realize that bullying is NOT A NATURAL PART OF LIFE. No type or form of bullying is acceptable.

Without intervention bullying in school often contributes to school shootings, suicide and drug abuse among victims. The truth about bullying is that there is no way to completely stop it. Bullying behavior cannot be simply wished away. There is no cure for this lack of empathy in individuals.

However, there are ways parents can collaborate together to campaign against bullying in schools, thereby minimizing bully social behavior in their communities. Some advocacy initiatives parents can take action on is:

  • Lobbying before state legislatures at state capitol for tougher more effective anti-bully policies.

  • Media exposure is another pressuring tactic that can be used to get school administration to better protect children that are victimized, after parents have met with staff, the principal and/or counselors to try to resolve the bully conflict situation.

  • Coordinating with other parents to ensure that bullying in school is taken seriously and that anti-bullying programs and reporting systems are implemented.

Bullying in School:
How Parents Can Protect Their Children and
Minimize the Damage Caused by Bullying at School

It is nearly impossible for any parent to completely safeguard their child from experiencing moments of feeling rejection, pain and exclusion. However, parents can instill life coping skills within their children that will help them to better handle potential bully situations they may encounter. Parents can help reduce the chances of their child being bullied by refraining from saying or doing things that could make their child feel inadequate about themselves.

Oftentimes it is parents that contribute to lowering their child's self esteem. Even unintentionally parents can fail to or forget to show their child how much they love them, or how special they are. Sometimes parents may criticize their children too much and need to be aware of the influence they are having. Parents' positive feedback is necessary to help offset the negative effects of bullying in school.

Parents can also help by including their child in social activities with other children. Children that are isolated from their peers can become antisocial. Antisocial children are often labeled as outcast and are key targets for bullies.

Although parents may not always be able to prevent their child from coming in contact with aggressive power seeking individuals, they can play key roles in minimizing the physical, emotional and mental damage caused by bulling in school. Parents can also help prevent their child from becoming a targeted victim or at least mitigating the damage of bullying in school by:

  • Talking with and listening to your child everyday.

  • Spend time at school and recess with your child if possible. Most bullying happens when parents are not present.

  • Offer support but do not "rescue" your child from challenges or encourage total dependence on you.

  • Help your child develop or strengthen friendships and interests that secures acceptance.

People of all ages tend to bully others from time to time. Many times people bully other people without intentionally meaning to cause harm consciously. Usually, the older individuals are, the less likely they may be inclined to cause physical harm even if they are intentionally bullying another person.

As people grow and develop they typically become more aware of the consequences of their actions. As children mature from adolescence to adulthood they (generally) become more considerate of other people's feelings. This maturity level gives a person more self control. Children often lack the mental capacity to control some of their impulsive behavior tendencies such as name calling and aggressive physical reactions.

Due to the lack of consequences for children, they are free to say what they feel even if it hurts someone's feelings. It is children that can be very brutal to others, socially, mentally and physically without even realizing they may have gone to far. It is children that can be repetitive in bully abuse with no mercy or ending point to the abuse. (Of course this is not limited to children or bullying in school. For more information on adult bullying see: Workplace Bullying and Mobbing.)

While many children usually have underlying motives for bullying in schoool such as boosting their own popularity, frustration and anger (perhaps due to abuse) or acting out abusive behaviors they see modelled by their parents; others may not seem to have any reason to bully at all.

Children that bully without any apparent motives may do so out of immaturity and because they are simply just children. Therefore parents, educators, and adults are responsible for creating safe, respectable, and socially acceptable environments for children.

Latricia Wilson is an guest writer. If you are an expert in a field related to bullying in school or the workplace and would like to contribute to our efforts and promote your website or services please contact us for more information.


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