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  Dealing With Bullies For Parents
 
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About The Love & Safety Club

The Love & Safety Club for children has been a project of Duncan's since 1998. It began with a collection of safety education songs but soon became an in-class safety education tool for teachers in Canada and the United States. Turn your speakers on and then visit the Keeping Bad Secrets page to hear a beautifully recited poem about bad secrets. Or you can check out the The Love & Safety Club section to find out more about the program.

If you would like more information about Duncan Wells, or if you would like to use any of the material at this website please feel free to contact him.

 

 
Dealing With Bullies
If you're like most people, you had to deal with a bully at some time during your childhood. Memories of that experience may still be as vivid as though it all happened yesterday. One in ten school children is regularly harassed or attacked by bullies. The experience is often dismissed as just a part of childhood.

Bullying behavior may seem rather insignificant compared to kids bringing guns to school and getting involved with drugs. Bullying is often dismissed as part of growing up. But it's actually an early form of aggressive, violent behavior. Statistics show that one in four children who bully will have a criminal record before the age of 30.

Bullies often cause serious problems that schools, families, and neighbors ignore. Teasing at bus stops, taking another child's lunch money insults and threats, kicking or shoving is all fair game to a bully.

Some bullies are outgoing, aggressive, active, and expressive. They get their way by brute force or openly harassing someone. This type of bully rejects rules and regulations and needs to rebel to achieve a feeling of superiority and security. Other bullies are more reserved and manipulative and may not want to be recognized as harassers or tormentors. They try to control by smooth-talking, saying the "right" thing at the "right" time, and lying. This type of bully gets his or her power discreetly through cunning, manipulation, and deception.

As different as these two types may seem, all bullies have some characteristics in common:

  • they are concerned with their own pleasure
  • they want power over others
  • they are willing to use and abuse other people to get what they want
  • they feel pain inside, perhaps because of their own shortcomings
  • they find it difficult to see things from someone else's perspective

Bullied children lose self-esteem. They feel alone. Their grades may suffer. Fears and anxieties about bullies can cause some children to avoid school, carry a weapon for protection, or even commit more violent activity, even "good" children may turn to violence to protect themselves or to seek revenge.

Although anyone can be the target of bullying behavior, the victim is often singled out because of his or her psychological traits more than his or her physical traits. A typical victim is likely to be shy, sensitive, and perhaps anxious or insecure. Some children are picked on for physical reasons such as being overweight or physically small, having a disability, or belonging to a different race or religious faith.

Question: What can we do to stop bullying?

There's a great deal you as a parent can do:

Provide opportunities for children to talk about bullying, perhaps when watching TV together, reading aloud, playing a game, or going to the park or a movie.

Watch for symptoms that your child may be a bullying victim, such as withdrawal, a drop in grades, torn clothes, unexplained bruises, not wanting to go to school, needing extra money or supplies, taking toys or other possessions to school and regularly "losing" them.

Take your child's complaints of bullying seriously. Children are often afraid or ashamed to tell anyone that they have been bullied, so believe your child's complaints.

Tell the school or organization immediately if you think that your child is being bullied. Alerted caaregivers can carefully monitor your children's actions and take other steps to ensure your child's safety.

Work with other parents to ensure that the children in your neighborhood are supervised closely on their way to and from school.

Listen! Encourage your child to talk about school, social events, the walk or ride to and from school. Listen to his or her conversations with other children. This could be your first clue to whether your child is a victim, a bully, or neither.

Don't bully your children yourself, physically or verbally. Use nonphysical, consistently enforced discipline measures as opposed to ridiculing, yelling at, or ignoring your children when they misbehave

Teach children ways to resolve arguments without violent words or actions. Teach children self-protection skills -- how to walk confidently, stay alert to what's going on around them, and to stand up for themselves verbally.

Help children learn the social skills they need to make friends. A confident, resourceful child who has friends is less likely to be bullied or to bully others.

Praise your child's kindness toward others. Let your child know that kindness is valued.

Recognize that bullies may be acting out feelings of insecurity, anger, or loneliness. If your child is a bully, help get to the root of the problem. Seek out specific strategies you can use at home from a teacher, school counselor, or child psychologist.

 
 
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