Bullying has become a serious epidemic in American society; it is running rampant through our schools, the workplace and even other institutions. Bullying is everywhere and affects everyone, in fact, according to BullyingStatistics.org, “Bullying statistics show that about 77 percent of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another”. Everyone has witnessed or experienced bullying, an act in which one individual harasses another, but few do anything to stop or prevent the attack. Many people don’t know what to do in this situation but this article provides some helpful tips in dealing with and preventing bullying.
What Constitutes as Bullying?
There are many different acts that can be considered bullying whether they be physical or verbal. Pushing, shoving, hitting or any other form of physical abuse is seen as bullying as well as taunting, name-calling, insulting and general nasty comments. However, there is an even more subtle but powerful bullying technique that is prevalent in our schools. Many children will deliberately exclude their classmates from activities as a way of bullying some even taking it as far as refusing to even speak to the excluded party. This social isolation is devastating to the victim as they feel they do not fit in and their self esteem plummets. Nobody likes to be left out and everyone wants to be included in the fun, this is why ostracizing others is so harmful and such a cruel way to bully. This form of bullying is not only found in schools but work offices, sports teams and other institutions in which there are groups of people.
How Can I Prevent Bullying?
Bullies are always going to be a part of society, there will always be those individuals that feel the need to harass others but by learning how to cope with bullying, victims can protect themselves. Bullies often target individuals with low self-esteem, few friends and who keep to themselves. A bully will always go for a target they perceive as weak. It is important for the victim to learn to stand up for themselves because by pushing back, the individual is illustrating that they are not weak or a pushover and the bully becomes disinterested. Sometimes bullying is the product of a distressed individual who is projecting their feelings onto others which is the case for most bullies. It is important to teach your child to be empathetic towards other situations. By being empathetic, the child can relate to the bully and understand that the bully is projecting their own feelings out of frustration about the situation they are in. This method of prevention works for all age groups, as does standing up for one’s self. It is important to remember that we are all human beings and that we each wish to be treated respectfully. While you may not be a victim of bullying, chances are you’re probably a witness. If you ever see someone being bullied, speak out against the abuse to help not only the victim but yourself as well.
Here are some signs your child or adolescent may be experiencing being bullied:
- Drop in grades or quality of work
- Personal items are lost, or destroyed throughout the day (Binders, electronics, etc)
- Illness, such as frequent headaches or stomachaches
- Not wanting to go to school or school sponsored events, or drop in attendance in classes
- Seems unhappy during the week, but happy during the weekend
- Once independent and outgoing, now anxious and insecure
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or injuries
How can counseling help?
Your family does not need to fight this battle alone. Upon bringing your child to counseling, the counselor can help with empowering the child to stand up for themselves, and by addressing self confidence/low self esteem. Additionally, counselors can also help with analyzing and addressing the unhealthy dynamics that might be occuring in the classroom, on the playground or online. The benefits after counseling are that children have a better self image, higher/improved grades at school, mood is more positive and are able to develop healthy friendships.
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-Jessie & Jennie