First and foremost, teachers and parents must take teasing and bullying seriously!
Forget about the theory that bullies have low self-esteem. We are discovering that bullies have "high" self-esteem and they gain power, and enjoy, hurting others.
How can you tell if your child is being bullied? Study these signs.
Child comes home with cuts, bruises on body
He or she has torn clothing
Child "claims" he lost his lunch money
She becomes more quiet, withdrawn
He doesn't want to go to school
She complains of sore stomach or other illnesses
He is more moody or irritable
She has trouble sleeping
Child's schoolwork starts to suffer
She becomes more aggressive with siblings
How can you tell if your child is a bully? Study these signs.
Your child comes home from school with "gifts" from other children
Child gets in many fights with peers
Child is insensitive to the emotions of others
Have children at home and school develop pledges "not to bully others." Repeat the pledges daily.
Schools can place a Bully Box near the counselor's office. Students can "anonymously" report bullying situations.
Teach children how to "walk" tall. Bullies often pick on people who appear to be weak and walk with their heads down. Children can be taught ways to walk that gives them more of an assertive posture. My father told me to, "Walk like you like yourself." It makes a lot of sense to me now!
Teach children "calming statements" to use when they are confronted. Examples are, "I can handle this." "I'm a good person." "I'm not going to let her mess up my day."
Parents may wish to encourage their children to become more assertive by getting them interested in martial arts.
Students should be encouraged to join clubs, sports, and other school activities. When students become part of a club or team, it gives them a good support group and they are less apt to be teased. Often it is the "lonely" kids who become victims.
Children need to be told that is is not a sign of weakness to walk away from rude individuals.
Teach children strategies to control their anger. Bullies enjoy seeing their targets get angry.
Have children make a list of caring adults that they can go to when they are bullied or scared.
Conflict resolution expert Naomi Drew recommends victims to implement the "Stop, Breathe, Chill" strategy. STOP: take a step back and notice what's going on inside of you, BREATHE: inhale deeply right down to the pit of your stomach 3 times, CHILL: walk away for a moment, get a drink of water, wash your face, or do something else to release the energy of anger, then go back and talk about the problem with someone you trust.
Create a Kindness Committee at the school to teach children how to be kind and respectful to others.
Do not let child stay home as a way of avoiding a bully. Tell your child that every day he goes to school it is a triumph over the bully. It lets the bully know that your child has a right to be at school and he will not be deterred.
It is very important to teach bystanders ways to help out their friends who are being bullied. They can distract the bully or encourage their friend, "Hey come with me."
Let's not forget about all the bullying that takes place via the computer. This is known as cyberbullying. Teach your children these strategies to help prevent most cyberbullying.
never give out personal information, passwords, PIN numbers
don't believe everything you read...bullies like to lie
don't respond...bullies want you to
if you get a threatening message, don't delete it...show an adult
don't send a message to someone when you are angry