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
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
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
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
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
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
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 OvercomeBullying.org
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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