Watch for these warning signs:
•Ø Loss of friends
•Ø Drop in grades
•Ø Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
•Ø Torn clothing
•Ø A need for extra money or supplies
What parents can do to prevent bullying and stop it when it happens:
•· Teach children to solve problems without using violence and praise them when they do the right thing.
•· Ask your children about their day and LISTEN to them talk about school, classmates, social events and any problems they are having.
•· Take bullying seriously. Many children are embarrassed to tell anyone that they have been bullied.
•· Stop it right away - even if your child is the one doing the bullying.
•· Encourage your child to help others that need it.
•· Don't bully your child or others in front of them. Children who are bullied at home usually bully others. Don't hit, ridicule, or gossip about others. You are teaching your child the same behavior.
If you think your child is being bullied at school, collect as much information as you can (names, places, dates, etc.) and report it the school administration.
What if your child is the bully?
Some warning signs: (Your child does not have to have each of these)
•· Lacks empathy and doesn't sympathize with others
•· Values aggression
•· Likes to be in charge
•· Is an arrogant winner and a sore loser
•· Often fights with brothers and sisters
•· Is impulsive
•· Sees things only from their viewpoint
•· Does not take responsibility for their cruel actions
•· Excludes or shuns another child
•· Damages another child's property or clothing
•· Taunts, intimidates, or harasses
•· Spreads vicious rumors that hurt or ruin someone's reputation
•· Takes pleasure in seeing another child (or animal) in distress
•· Blames the victim or says the child "deserved what he got"
•· Targets those that are weaker or younger or animals
What can you do?
•· Take it seriously. It is not a passing phase and they will not outgrow it.
•· Talk to your child and find out why he/she is bullying. Many times they bully because they feel sad, angry, lonely or insecure especially after major changes at home or school.
•· Help build empathy for others. Talk to your child about how it would feel to be bullied. Model empathy.
•· Get dads involved. Unless the child comes from a home where the father is aggressive, dads who are positively involved in their child's upbringing, usually raise sensitive children. If the dad is not present, seek out strong male role models that can connect with your child (such as uncles, cousins, stepdads or Big Brothers).
•· Ask the child's teacher or school counselor if the child is facing some kind of problem at school (such a struggling with reading or math). Ask for advice on how you can help them.
•· Ask yourself if someone at home is bullying your child. Often, children who are bullies are bullied by a parent, sibling or another adult.
•· Enforce a consequence.
•· Require restitution.
•· Monitor your child more closely.
•· Seek professional help.
What to expect by stages and ages
•· Hitting, biting, pinching, poking, tripping
•· Usually not intentional at this age, but can become a habit if it is allowed to continue
•· Hitting, pinching, tripping
•· Verbal insults and put downs
•· Social exclusion and leaving other children out of activities usually becomes an issue starting in fourth grade
PBSKids offers a variety of information for the primary aged student regarding bullying. Click on the following link that discusses what bullying is, who bullies are, and the type of children that bullies target.