A Good Volunteer Program Is Vital To An Animal Shelter Bullying – Not My Child!

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Bullying – Not My Child!

News headlines have recently reported the tragic consequences of bullying. Although this behavior is not new, it is increasing due to the sense of anonymity that bullies have when using electronic devices to bully. Let’s get clear on a definition of bullying. Each of these three main conditions is present in a bullying situation: injury, mismatch (either in age/size or in numbers, eg 3 children against one) and repetition. Examples of bullying include:

  • Physical injury to someone
  • Stealing or damaging another person’s belongings
  • Meeting someone
  • Harassment in a hurtful way
  • Using slurs, such as insulting someone’s race, weight, intelligence, appearance, or making fun of someone for being a boy or a girl
  • Touching or showing private parts of the body
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Sending messages about rumors or lies
  • Publishing rumors or lies on social networking sites
  • Excluding someone on purpose or trying to get other children to exclude someone

Our schools spend a lot of time introducing the remedial bullying curriculum, seriously addressing situations where they come to the attention of staff and the consequences of bullying. It is important that all adults have a similar message about bullying.

So what can you do as a parent? First, it is important to understand that even good children and teenagers are capable of bullying. It is not a matter of saying “teenagers will be teenagers” when they are doing serious harm to another person. We have seen the consequences of bullying. Bullying is too harmful to the bully! A historical study showed that 60% of boys who were bullies in grades 6 through 9 were convicted of at least one crime as adults, and nearly 40% of them had three or more convictions by age 24!

Here are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood that your teen will become a bully:

  • Talk to your teens about empathy and be living examples of empathetic behavior. If your teen makes a cruel remark, use it as a teaching moment.
  • Arrange for your teen to volunteer and do community service as a way to develop their empathy “muscles.” They can volunteer at: Food Banks, Animal Humane Society, Local Hospitals, read to residents in nursing or assisted living homes, Special Olympics, etc.
  • If you give your teen a cell phone, DO NOT enable text messaging, and if it still exists, get a phone without a camera. (The camera is a whole other problem. The students are having sex which is considered a fourth degree felony and distributing child pornography). Monitor their Facebook and My Space accounts.
  • Believe and support school staff if they say your teenager is being bullied and take some of the steps mentioned above.
  • Pay attention to your parenting style. “Child aggression has been associated with authoritarian discipline – an approach that attempts to control children through fear and the threat of severe punishment (Espelage et al 2000). Bullies are more likely to have experienced or witnessed child abuse of domestic violence (Bladry et al. 2003; Bauer et al 2006). Bullies are more likely to have parents who believe that aggression is an acceptable way to solve problems”.

Copyright 2010, Iris Fanning, [http://www.irisfanning.com]. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all links active, do not modify the article in any way, and credit the author’s name.

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