Teach Your Child to Avoid Bullying

Edited by Emmanuel M. Lardizabal, Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn and 2 others

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Did your child come home from school with unexplained injuries or with torn clothes? Do they often lose personal stuff? Have you noticed changes in his or her behavior or eating habits, and is he or she having difficulty sleeping? You must pay attention - these are signs of being bullied. It is time to take action. Take note of other symptoms of bullying, such as often complaining or feigning illnesses, showing signs of disinterest in school, declining school performance, and the worst, tendency to hurt him or herself, or others.

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Don't Take Matters Lightly

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Do you know that the desire to get even or seek revenge prompts about 87 percent of shootings in school? Children physically abused at home also get violent, so that about 61 percent of the statistics of juvenile shooting incidents can be traced from domestic violence. Bullying and violence can follow a vicious cycle. It has gotten to be pervasive and unspeakably dangerous. Those who survived their childhood tormentors may live a long, unsuccessful life, as long-term effects are magnified in the long haul.

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If you are the parent of a kid who goes around brandishing his hostility and aggression towards others, it is equally alarming. You would have a hint that your kid is the much touted bully in the school or neighborhood if he often gets into fights, is often sent for disciplinary action or detention, and has cohorts who are similarly notorious.

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Bullying can be grim, but it can be prevented. You can start by understanding bullying and its signs, effects, and causes. Look through your kid's reasons for not wanting to report bullying. You can also bully-proof your child and keep them from becoming a bully himself or herself.

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Get Familiar with Bullying

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  1. 1
    Defining bullying.
    Bullying is a pattern or repeated pattern of aggressive behavior - verbal, physical, social or psychological - that intends to hurt or harm someone weaker or disadvantaged.
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  2. 2
    The power of the bully.
    The power to hurt others emanates from their size, status, strength, and support from the peer group. It can take the forms of harassment, verbal abuse, physical harm, and efforts to ostracize another person.
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  3. 3
    The major types of bullying.
    There are primarily three types of bullying: Physical bullying, verbal bullying, and emotional bullying.
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  4. 4
    Bullying in the virtual world.
    With the social media and mobile phones gaining an overwhelming popularity these days, electronic bullying becomes another real threat to teens and older kids. This is done by maligning people through the use of text messages, instant messaging, and various online social networks. This type is especially shattering since the spread of venomous words, images and videos can become viral in a short time.
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  5. 5
    Sexual harassment.
    This just doesn't happen in the adult world. Teens who feel inadequate, unliked, or unappreciated can try to cover up such feelings, playing the role of the aggressor to younger or weaker girls. The abuse or advances are sexual in nature that can cause humiliation, intimidation, and personal offense.
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  6. 6
    Hostile behaviour against gays.
    While gays are already enjoying social acceptance in today's world, there remain certain groups of people that are homophobic. In certain countries, gays are even still persecuted.
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  7. 7
    Racial discrimination.
    Again, while this generation has widely emancipated women and gays, there are also instances that immigrants and foreigners are treated differently. In schools, among kids, expect them to look down on nationalities if their parents have the same discrimination.
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  8. 8
    What's "Bullycide." Believe it or not, suicide is a major cause of death among kids 14 years and younger.
    A study conducted by Yale School of Medicine shows a relationship between suicide and bullying or "bullycide." According to The American Association of Suicidology (AAS), the suicide rate has increased by 50 percent over the last 30 years.
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The Impacts of Bullying

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  1. 1
    It can cause a kid pain that is not only physical.
    Physical signs are the most usual signs of bullying when there is size, age or height advantage enjoyed by the bullies over the younger or smaller kids. The bullied kids can also experience emotional pain and humiliation with verbal abuse and embarrassments.
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  2. 2
    It can make learning an agonizing process.
    But just how do you expect your child to learn when stress and anxiety overwhelms his or her thoughts? A child cringing in fear will have difficulty concentrating on the lessons. He or she may not even want to go to school. About one in every 10 bullied kids eventually becomes a drop out.
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  3. 3
    It can result in long-term serious life-changing concerns.
    Once kids have suffered deeply enough to drop out of school or become detached from society, they may end up not finding a good job, or becoming another welfare case of the society. They are also vulnerable to depression, early pregnancy, drug addiction, etc.
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  4. 4
    It can push the victim to become the aggressor.
    Bullying is excruciating and degrading. Older kids and teens are most especially sensitive to humiliating experiences and other negative experiences. If they are not able to overcome bullying on their own, or with the help of adults around them, bullying can even lead to suicide. There were even those who went on a shooting spree to end their own shame and misery.
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Understanding kids' psyche: Why don't they ask for help?

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Kids are supposed to ask for help when they start getting hurt in any way. Why are they not complaining or reporting? Why do they try to cope on their own, sometimes even when they can't anymore? Based on the records of Statistics from School Crime Supplement from 2008–09, at least one adult was informed in about 33 percent of the cases. But, in around 66 percent of the cases, kids opt to keep their problem.

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  1. 1
    Bullying is humiliating.
    It can reduce the victim's dignity and self-worth. Young as they are, they want their parents' respect. A victim may not want his or her parents to find out how unimportant he or she is in the eyes of peers.
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  2. 2
    Kids may not want to be judged or punished.
    They may feel that parents will get angry at them for being weak and incapable of fighting their own wars.
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  3. 3
    Kids may want to regain respect.
    They can be working against helplessness. Perhaps they need to handle their own problems to overcome their own fears or to regain control over their life. They would not want to be labeled as weak or a tattletale.
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  4. 4
    Fear for more bullying.
    If they report, the bullies will definitely try to get back at them. If they fear the repercussions and attacks from bullies, they may want to just stay silent in the hope it will soon be over.
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  5. 5
    They may lose their peers.
    There is always peer pressure. They have their norms of doing things. Perhaps reporting the bullies will drive away the friends who are their allies against their attackers, which is why they would rather not tell any adult.
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  6. 6
    The feeling of desolation and isolation.
    If the kid feels that he or she is unimportant, they will not want to bother anyone. He or she will just absorb all the physical, emotional and psychological pain. This makes it dangerous for them, as anger, humiliation and pain are all bottled up.
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Bracing Your Child Through the Experience

If your child is being beleaguered by bullies, there are several ways to help your kids.

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  1. 1
    Report the Bullies
     
    1. What are your state's anti-bullying laws, as well as your school's policy on anti-bullying? You can only fight bullying when you know the legal basis of your complaints and actions and those of the bullies. Most government supported schools have a set of protocols to deal with bullying.
    2. Guide your child through the process. Show your support to your child when he or she has to report to the authorities the bullying he or she has personally experienced or witness. If your child is the bully, it is still important to know what steps to take and to guide your child through the process.
    3. Get the facts straight. Ask your child his or her side of the story. Validate that by asking other kids who saw what happened. Sit down with your child and get the details about when and where he or she was bullied, who is/are bullying, what was done or said and how often this abuse happened.
    4. File a formal complaint. This is the most important step to show how serious you are in pursuing the case. If you do not want your child to go through those long-term effects, you need to stop the bully who is hurting your child. Similarly, the bully needs to find a way to change his or her ways or he or she suffers too.
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  2. 2
    Teach Kids to Defend Themselves
     
    1. Face the aggressor. Never be meek in the face of a bully. Teach your kid to stand tall and tell the attacker to stop in a loud voice "Stop mocking me. That is mean."
    2. Agree with the bully. If the bully says, "You're a loser," retort and say, "Yes, I am a loser." Bullies like picking opposition and fights; do not give it to them.
    3. Take no notice of them. Bullies love upsetting their victims. Teach your child to react indifferently. Teach them to look away or to look utterly uninterested, and this reaction will douse their fervor.
    4. Question the behavior. Rather than fight or admonish the bully, ask him why is he doing what he is doing or saying what he is saying. "Why would you call me ugly, dumb or fat?"
    5. Address the bully with the words "I want." "I want you to stop hurting me" can be more powerful than fighting; this is what communication experts say that you must teach your child.
    6. Laugh with them. When bullies make fun of your child, teach him or her to make a response that will not tease or fight back. So when the bully says, "You're stupid," teach your child to retort with, "So, you noticed," or something like, "So, what is it to you?" with a smile.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Projecting an assertive attitude. Bullies are likely to pick on those who appear unsure of themselves. So teach your child to walk with awareness, confidence, and respect, for others.
  • Target denial. Teach your kid to veer around the bully so that he or she can move out of reach easily. Your kid must try to walk tall, and be confident and aware. As the bully approaches, teach your child to speak in a natural tone, saying, "See you later" or "Nice seeing you," while moving away.
  • Self-defense as a last recourse. It is not right to teach your kid to get into a fistfight. Teach them everything to avoid being bullied. But when there is no escape anymore and the bullying gets too serious, teach them basic martial arts. If it means saving his or her life literally or metaphorically, then by all means teach them self–defense.

No parent would want see to see one's own child bullied and hurt in any way possible. While bullying can be a devastating experience, it is not totally hopeless. Know when your child is being bullied to help them get through the experience successfully. Understand bullying and teach your child options. Most especially, be there for them. The knowledge that they are not alone can mean so much for them.

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Categories : Parenting

Recent edits by: Graeme, Lynn, Eng

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