Bullying occurs when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose and the person being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself. Usually, bullying is repeated.
Examples of bullying are:
· Punching, shoving and other acts of physical violence.
· Spreading rumors
· Excluding people
· Teasing people
· Getting certain people to be mean as well
Bullying can also occur on-line or electronically. Cyber-bullying occurs when children or teens bully each other using the Internet, mobile phones or other technology. This can include:
· Sending hostile texts, e-mails or instant messages
· Posting offensive pictures or messages about others in blogs or on websites
· Hacking into someone else's online account to spread rumors or lies about another person
Whether you are being bullied, have seen others being bullied or you have bullied others, there are plenty of good things you can do to ensure it doesn't happen again. No matter how you've been affected by bullying, it's a good idea to talk to an adult. Even though it's hard to talk to grown-ups, they can help!
Signs your child may be bullied:
· torn clothes
· loss of appetite
· mood changes
· reluctance to go to school
· bruises or injuries that can't be explained
Signs your child might be engaging in bullying behavior:
· no empathy for others
· a desire to be in control
· may be an arrogant and boastful winner and poor loser in competitive games
For younger kids, the best way to solve a bullying problem is to tell a trusted adult. For teens, though, the tell-an-adult approach depends on the bullying situation.
One situation in which it is vital to report bullying is if it threatens to lead to physical danger and harm. Numerous high school students have died when stalking, threats and attacks went unreported and the silence gave the bully license to become more violent.
If the victim of repeated bullying cannot control the need for revenge, the situation may become dangerous for everyone.
Adults in positions of authority — parents, teachers or coaches — can often find ways to resolve dangerous bullying problems without the bully ever learning how they found out about it.
If you're in a bullying situation that you think may escalate into physical violence, try to avoid being alone (and if you have a friend in this situation, spend as much time as you can together). Try to remain part of a group by walking home at the same time as other people or by sticking close to friends or classmates during the times the bullying takes place.
Bullying Survival Tips
Here are some things you can do to combat psychological and verbal bullying. They are also good tips to share with a friend as a way to show your support:
· Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a coward's response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away, or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Eventually the bully will become bored. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.
· Hold the anger. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).
· Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get into trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe bullying is a part of growing up (even that it is character building) and hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.
· Practice confidence. Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).
· Take charge of your life. You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think of ways to feel your best — and your strongest — so other kids may give up the teasing. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn martial arts or take a yoga class. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers or writing. Joining a class, club or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel great about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the bullys.
· Talk about it. It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher or friend — anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.
· Find your (true) friends. If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of the above tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor's not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is — petty, rude and immature.
The Lancaster County School District has a strict anti-bullying policy. If you feel your child is being bullied in school, please call the District Safety Director at 803-285-6009.