Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being a Bully

I was a lucky child in that I don't believe I was ever bullied by anyone at school. Or outside of school. I was friends with people who were, but because it wasn't me I was really disconnected from what was going on.

I remember when I was in elementary school I was friends with a boy around the corner. We were playing in my side yard when another boy(a bigger, older boy) showed up at my house. I was not friends with THIS particular boy and had absolutely no affinity for him. Whatsoever. I didn't like him in the slightest. But he came in to my yard. After my friend. He chased him down and knocked him on his face in the grass. I remember screaming for my mother who was inside the house. She threw open her bathroom window (because it faced the part of the yard we were in) and yelled down for the bigger boy to stop. Luckily, he did. And he left. I hate to admit it, but a few days later I'd all but forgotten about it. Or at least, I forgot about it until I saw him again. He never came near me though.

My brother, I think, was picked on at one point in highschool by a wannabe thug (no seriously, he was... tattoos and everything at like 15, bad attitude, rude, mean to everyone). I don't remember exactly what happened but my brother's friend ended up getting beat up by this wannabe because he defended my brother. We ended up giving him a ride home from school that day. It was funny though, that wannabe sat behind me in an assembly one day, I was a senior, and tried to talk to me. I guess he didn't realize he'd been messing with my brother.

Did you know that each day it's estimated that 160,000 students don't go to school because they're afraid of being bullied? And based on research I've done, in school bullying cases there is only intervention 15% of the time. So 85% of the time someone could be watching your child get picked on or beat up and do nothing. And of that 15% only 4% is ADULT intervention. The rest comes from peers.

Why are we failing our kids? Why are the people we trust to take care of them at school failing our kids? This isn't just something we can brush under the rug. Bullying is linked to depression, health problems, poor grades, and even suicidal thoughts in children.

And you can't just tell your kids to "stand up to them". Because really, if the person's a bully that's only going to make it worse. It's going to make the bully angrier. And your poor child is going to reap the consequences. Bullies aren't just cowards or insecure people who will back down when their bluff is finally called. They're arrogant, egotistical, and aggressive. For some, violence or name calling is all they know. Standing up to them won't stop them.

Some people say they didn't KNOW their chidl was being bullied. So guess what... I'm going to tell you what to look for.

1. They lose interest in extracurricular activities and even in school.
2. Performance in school drops below what you know they're capable of.
3. They complain of illness to try and get out of going to school.
4. They seem afraid to ride the bus or go to school.
5. Their appetite decreases.
6. The get moody or depressed.
7. They can't sleep.

There you go, from the website My Child Safety, signs you can look for that your little one - or even your big one - is being bullied.
Now.... the parents of those doing the bullying should be heald accountable too right? So pay attention to whether or not your kids are aggressive. Watch out for how they behave towards adults or those in positions of authority, like teachers. Is your child hot tempered or easily frustrated? Are they impulsive? Bullies are good at talking their way out of trouble and they have little to no sympathy for anyone else that's on the receiving end in a bullying situation. They have positive views toward violence.

When your child is being bullied, it is your DUTY to them, as their parent, to step in and DO something. If you don't, who will? According to statistics, definitely not their teachers. And probably not their friends. When your child IS a bully it is STILL your duty as their parent to step in and do something. To stop it.

No child deserves that kind of phsycological torture. "Kids will be kids" you say? Yes, that's true, but it does NOT give YOUR kid a right to scream at my kid for the duration of a bus ride. It does not give your kid a right to call my kid names. It does not give your kid the right to convince others to purposefully ignore my kid and leave them out of things. It does not give your kid the right to push, shove, tease, or do ANYTHING of that nature to MY kid.

Because you better believe if I hear about it I will do what needs to be done to stop it.

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