Raise Awareness of Bullying and Encourage Kindness
Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year, and 160,000 teens stay home from school to avoid bullying. One in 10 students dropout of school each year due to bullying. The statistics surrounding bullying are astounding. Not only is bullying affecting kids emotionally, but it is affecting their education and futures as many students miss class to avoid the pain and embarrassment. The pain of watching a child, sibling or loved one experience bullying is unbearable, often leaving us feeling helpless and unable to fix the problem. Our current systems of bullying prevention are failing kids, leaving many to wonder what we can do to help the problem. On Stop Bullying Day, join us in raising awareness of bullying and taking the necessary steps to prevent it in the future.
What is Bullying
Bullying is a distinctive pattern of dominating others by harm, humiliation or aggression, which causes another person injury or discomfort. According to Stopbullying.gov, to be considered bullying, it must be aggressive and include an imbalance of power and repetition. Bullying can be verbal, including teasing, taunting, name-calling and threatening. It can be social, such as excluding someone or spreading rumors. It can be physical, including spitting, tripping, pinching, hitting, breaking another’s things or kicking.
Bullying is a learned or made pattern. People are not born bullies. Some kids directly bully, and others assist passively or do not defend against it, which contributes to the problem substantially. Patterns of bullying show that oftentimes, the kid that is bullying feels neglected and lacks attention from a parent at home leading them to lash out for attention.
Additionally, kids who bully have often been bullied by siblings. Once the victim, a child often lashes out at a younger sibling to gain empowerment. Another probable cause is watching a parent bully. Children model what they see, and they are very likely to repeat the behavior of a parent. However, it is important to note that not all children who bully have problems at home. Sometimes, kids can come from a loving home but lack empathy or want power.
Bullying is now easier, more permanent and more anonymous than ever. One in three young people has experienced a cyber threat. Likes, retweets and shares only increase the escalation of the situation. Cyberbullying can occur through mean or embarrassing text messages, e-mails, messages or posts. This form of bullying is especially dangerous because it can occur in the home. Bullying at school, for example, can often be easier to deal with because the child can leave school and it ends. However, once the child loses that sense of safety in the home, they feel unsafe all of the time. Cyber bullies may not realize the consequences of their actions. A bully in person can see the results to the victim, but technology gives us the ability to make fun of or taunt someone we may not even know and move on without seeing how it affected the person.
What Can We Do
For bullying and cyberbullying, kids must feel like they have someone they can trust to tell. Often, bullying goes unreported by kids who don’t want to be seen as a tattletale or face an onslaught of even more bullying in response. For a child who is acting out yet has a secure and loving home life, empathy can be taught. Make sure to explain to children that bullying and its different forms are wrong and have consequences. Encourage your children to stand up to others. For the victim, knowing he or she has an ally can be incredibly important and can prevent long-term consequences. Encouraging kids to do what they love and respect others can prevent them from bullying behavior. Always keep the line of communication open with your kids and teens.
Psychotherapy such as EMDR can be helpful in coping with the bullying and its aftermath. Bullying can cause children's self esteem to be impacted drastically, and children can internalize the bullying and form negative beliefs about themselves such as:
I'm not good enough
Nobody likes me
I'm a loser
Learn more about EMDR therapy in our blog post here: http://bit.ly/2fYz4Py