Bullying has been around for ages. It is the negative targeting of a real or perceived difference in others.  In today’s world, bullying has become more pervasive, anonymous, and psychologically scarring.  There seems to be no end to the negativity and emotional damage it creates for victims of bullying and their families.

·      More anonymous – it used to be that you could pick out who was the bully and know them by name.  Now with social media, smart phones, internet – bullies can be unidentified and spread rumors and insults in an instant.

·      It’s constant – bullying is no longer just at school. Again, with technology today, it is available 24/7

·      It’s far-reaching – the emotional scars from bullying are just scrapes and bruising.  The scars are emotional which can take years to overcome.  Cyber-bullying creates a rumor mill that never goes away. Once it’s released electronically, it becomes permanent public information that never goes away.

Suggestions for Parents if you Child is Being Bullied

1.     Listen Calmly – kids are scared that if the bully finds out, it will get worse, or others worry that their parents won’t believe them.

2.     Praise Them – they need to hear that they did the right thing

3.     Remind them they are not alone

4.     Emphasize that it’s the bully behaving badly, not something they did

5.     Let someone at school know what is going on (teacher, nurse, counselor, etc.)

6.     If bullying continues or escalates, contact the parents with a school official to mediate

7.     Restore their confidence – help restore the child’s confidence with positive feedback and encouraging them to spend time with friends who have a positive influence. Participate in things they like and are good at.

Advice to Children

1.     Avoid the bully and use the buddy system.  Make sure your child has friends that will accompany them to their locker, walking to and from school, the restroom, etc.

2.     Hold the anger. Bullies thrive on shaming others and anger.  Practice with your child how to not “react” as best they can, by taking deep breathes or walking away.  Do not lead them to laugh or poke fun at the bully as this will provoke the bully.

3.     Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Act uninterested, hopefully, the bully will lose interest.

4.     Tell an adult. Tell an adult at school and your parents.  Do not be afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone what you are going through.

5.     Talk about it. Talking about the bully and your feelings will help the child to gain insight and personal power to be firm with the bully.  The child will feel less alone.

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