Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watch out for Bullies!

Have your kids ever been bullied? Would they tell you if they were? What is your advice? Do you tell them to fight back with words or do you tell them to ignore the other child? It's a tough subject to tackle because every situation is different. My almost five-year-old tends to be shy so I am prone to try and get him to stand up for himself when someone tries to verbally bully him. Of course, I don't want to encourage him to hurt someone. It's a tough balancing act.

Here's a story from CNN that brought this topic to mind:

A new school year is getting under way for millions of kids around the country. In today's health minute, here's some advice for parents whose children may be bullied.

Middle school principal Denise Magee hopes this school year will be different. The best case scenario for me as a local school principal? That we are bully proof, fully free of any bully incidents. That we are truly here with an academic focus: no fighting, no teasing, no name calling. Experts say bullying is not a rite of passage, as some people believe. They say it can have long-term consequences for a child. Kids who are bullied are at greater risk of physical symptoms, physical complaints, emotional problems, academic under-achievement and most of them start to try to find ways to miss school.

Psychologist Mark Crawford recommends parents step in after getting the facts. Make sure you're talking to them and encouraging them to talk to you. Let them know that some things just simply aren't okay and they don't have to put up with it. Magee has her own advice for parents. "I do not want parents to leave us out of the scenario. I want them to immediately contact us," said Magee. Magee is being pro-active and letting students at her school know that when it comes to bullying, she has a zero-tolerance policy.

Have your kids been bullied? What is your advice for parents? Will you encourage your child to fight back

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Jennifer said...

My daughter was bullied last year, by a new girl at her school. I told my daughter to avoid the girl and to ignore her as much as possible, but if the girl seemed at all threatening, that R. should go to a teacher at once. The bully ended up hitting my daughter in the face, hit another girl a month later, was suspended and moved. (I was so relieved!)
The worst part of it all, though, was the stress it caused my daughter. She went from liking school to dreading it; she cried frequently, had headaches and stomachaches before school, all due to stress.

newsanchormom.com said...

That is horrible Jennifer. I feel for you and your daughter. Thank goodness that's over. I just think bullying is one of the toughest things to tackle as a parent. You feel so helpless. what can you really do about it? You don't want your child to be injured, yet letting them get bullied and not standing up for themself doesn't work either. That is stressful!

SallyN said...

I was bullied in middle school - that move to a new district I've mentioned before - by a boy in my class who also lived next door, and all his little friends. It seriously affected my transition to the new school. My mother was emotionally absent at the time, which didn't make it any smoother though.
Interestingly enough, almost all of those boys have since apologized for their behavior... one even 'through the grapevine' as part of a rehab program he was in.
The actions those boys partook in was much easier to classify. The emotional bullying by the girls in my class however, that's a much more subversive kind of bullying.

newsanchormom.com said...

Sally I am sorry to hear that. I worry my oldest will feel that way and be scared to tell someone about it. Hopefully no bullies will be in his class and if there are I hope he is prepared to handle it emotionally.

Anonymous said...

My son was bullied by a classmate for an entire year. I called the school,had meetings at the school. The school wasn't much of a help. They would come up w/a solution but would only enforce it for a short time(let my son leave to go to his next class before the bell rang). Bullies are smart he would just wait until lunch or recess to pick on him when no one was looking. He had to replace a shirt that he dumped bbq sauce on at lunch one day. I finally told my son to hit him back--the school didn't seem to care. Eventually it stopped--without my son having to resort to violence. Now the district has a zero tolerance for bullying---just too bad it was too late for my son to benefit. He now has alot of pent up anger from this situation that we are working on

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