What an Awful Bully. Sad!
Your child is upset after an altercation with a bully. The bully without provocation called your child nasty names, spread awful rumours, took his backpack and threatened to get your child banned from school. When the teacher approached the bully about his behaviour, the bully spun a tremendous lie and boasted that he is the victim and that your child is the worst. The bully's parent refuses to hear any of it because the school year is almost over. Absolutely deplorable behaviour!
What do you do?
The Mayo Clinic defines childhood bullying as a “…form of aggression in which one or more children repeatedly and intentionally intimidate, harass or harm a victim who is perceived as unable to defend him- or herself.” Bullying can take many forms, including: physical, verbal, social and cyber-bullying. Parents and caregivers need be vigilant for signs that a child is being bullied or is engaged in bullying.
Studies have found that:
- Children as young as three engage in bullying.
- 24% of children suffered chronic bullying throughout their school years.
- Bullies and their victims suffer lasting mental health issues.
A discussion with your child about bullying will help them recognize the traits of bullies. Here are some ideas to help your child better understand bullying.
- Discuss with your child ways to handle a bully. Ask them how they would deal with a bully.
- Consider role-playing with your child so your child understands how both a bully and victim feels.
- Tell your child a personal story where you or someone you know was bullied or was the bully.
- Have a talk with your child’s teacher or principal to craft a strategy to deal with the problem.
- Kids Help Phone offers a variety of resources about bullying.
Research has found that bullies lack empathy for the feelings of others. Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education is leading an initiative called the Making Caring Common project. They provide parenting resources for raising caring and ethical children. There are some great tips to help parents cultivate empathy in children.
Help your child understand bullying by reading books that deal with bullies. Library staff can recommend picture books about bullying. Books about bullying weave lessons and explore reasons why people bully. These books often contain tips that your child can use.
- Caillou and the Big Bully by Christine L’Heureux (Ages: 0-5)
- The Little Bully by Beth Bracken (Ages: 0-5)
- Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney (Ages: 0-5)
- Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Ages: 0-5)
What strategies do you have to deal with a bully?