I remember the first time my daughter came home from fourth grade with a story of being bullied. She had become the target of another 10 year old’s bullying efforts and was being subjected to name calling, being physically bumped, and given nasty looks.
My daughter had tried to take the high road. She’d done what we’d told her to do when we brought up hypothetical bullying situations. She told her teacher, she told the school counselor, and she finally told us. Eventually, the situation was resolved with intervention from the school, but that bullying has had a lasting effect on her. It's impacted how she views others, her self-esteem, and her sense of security at school.
Bullying in schools is real and it's a dangerous epidemic that targets our children. It has to stop.
Bullying in Schools
With back to school season in full swing, bullying in schools is a concern on every parent’s mind. With bullying statistics on the rise and a number of different types of bullying to worry about, how to stop bullying is a question that leaves parents scratching their heads. Whether you’re concerned about cyber bullying or just want to explain to your child exactly what bullying is, we have some great information that can help you to become more aware of bullying in schools and in other everyday interactions.
What is Bullying?
There are a lot of different types of bullying. The dictionary definition of bullying is “the abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc.” Bullies act out in many different ways, from repeated physical contact and harmful words, to cyber bullying, which is done exclusively in an online format. As bullying can take many different forms, it’s important to be aware at all times, speaking out when inappropriate behavior takes place. Bullying can have effects on the self-esteem of victims, causing emotional distress, exacerbating mental illness, and affecting their performance at school and other activities.
In recent years, bullying statistics have become somewhat shocking. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, more than 1 in 5 students reported that they have been bullied. According to a 2015 study by George & Odgers, 90% of teenagers who reported being the victims of cyber bullying also said they were bullied offline. Sadly, only 43% of students attempted to get help from an adult about the situation that they were experiencing. However, those who are bullied have found that getting their peers involved seems to be a more effective way of handling bullying, with more than half reporting that bullying stopped when another child stepped in.
How to Stop Bullying
The first step in understanding how to stop bullying is understanding the different types of bullying and how to spot them. Talk to your children about the many forms that bullying can take and why looking out for others who are being bullied is important. Discuss with your children the consequences of their actions and even their non-actions if they choose to turn their back on bullying behavior. Give them a number of different scenarios where they might see bullying in schools or be witnesses to cyber bullying and help them come up with a few different ways to help the victim. Depending on what types of bullying they’re facing, they may want to confront the bully, help the victim to escape the situation, or find an adult to get involved.
Awareness of bullying and cyber bullying and understanding the pain that these actions can cause truly is how to stop bullying. When everyone is held to a standard of treating others with kindness and compassion, the incidence of bullying in schools will begin to decrease. Be sure to have regular conversations with your children about bullying to stay aware of what they are experiencing and remind them of what to do when they or one of their peers is being bullied.