Lets Talk About Bullying!

By Diane Lang

With the kids going back to school, we need to discuss bullying. Bullying has been around for many years but recently has caught the media attention due to the increased suicide rates and states like Massachusetts and New Jersey passing anti-bullying acts. Some stats below will show the reality of bullying. By knowing the signs and questions to ask our children, we can feel prepared for the new school year.

  1. Half of all high school students say they have been bullied or have bullied someone in the past year.
  2. A great way to see if students are being bullied is through anonymous evaluations. Kids don’t want to tell on anyone due to fear of being bullied more but they do want help and support.
  3. 77% of kids are bullied mentally, verbally and physically.
  4. Only 10% of kids tell their parents that they have been bullied.
  5. Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.
  6. Playground school bullying statistics show that every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.
  7. 33% of students report being bullied at least once a month.
  8. 6 out of 10 students say they witness someone being bullied daily.
  9. 3.2 million students in 6th-10th grade say they’re a victim of bullying each day.

What is Bullying?
Bullying is when a group or individual picks on another person or group and they have more power either in terms of physical strength or social status.
All ages can be bullied as we see bullying in children as young as pre-school and through adulthood in work situations.
We pick on someone due to their appearance, sexual preference and/or social status.

Types of Bullying
Physical bullying consists of shoving, pushing, tripping, hitting, punching or sexual assault.
Verbal abuse/relational aggression is seen mostly in girls – gossip, rumor spreading, using your social power to have everyone dislike, talk about, exclude, taunt, tease or spread rumors. We also see verbal abuse through e-mail, notes, texting, posting on social websites – this is where it crosses over to cyber bullying.

Signs
Bullying causes people to feel in constant fear. It makes people feel rejected, hurt, scared and sad.

Signs/Symptoms

  • Change in school work and grades
  • Change in eating habits
  • Health problems like stomach, headache, etc
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress/anxiety - psychosomatic illnesses such as migraines, lock jaw, IBS, low immune system
  • Depression and thoughts of suicide
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, torn clothing
  • Panic attacks
  • Losing money or objects frequently

The bully itself has problems too. Bullies in elementary school usually grow up to be bullies and have aggressive/violent behaviors.
           1 out 4 elementary school bullies will have a criminal record by age 30

Bullies have problems developing and keeping friendships
            School problems - bad grades and early dropout rates

Questions to ask your child
Sometimes we are not sure if our child is being bullied. There are specific question you can ask to find out how they are feeling and their situation. This is a good way to get a dialogue going with your child. Check the list of signs also.

  • Is someone hurting you? Was it on purpose?
  • Was it done more than once? How many times?
  • Did it make you feel sad, angry, hurt, bad, etc.?
  • Did the child/person who hurt you know that you were feeling_____ (hurt, sad)?
  • Is the child more powerful, bigger, scarier, older, etc. than you?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch? Play with at recess?
  • How was the bus ride to and from school?
  • Are there a lot of cliques at school? What are your thoughts on them?
  • Has anyone touched you from your nose to your toes?
  • Do kids make fun of you?
  • I notice you have been feeling sick a lot and wanting to stay home? Are you ok? What is going on?

For more information please visit Diane Lang’s website: www.dlcounseling.com or email Diane at Lifeline36@aol.com