Timeout for Bullies

February 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Last week one of my friends found out that her nine year old son was being bullied at school. Not only did she find out that he was being bullied, she found out from her mother (his grandmother) because he didn’t want to tell her! As a result of the bullying, he had become withdrawn in class and a couple of his teachers were yelling at him too. So how do you get your child to talk to you about bullying?
When I talk to parents about their children being bullied, I often remember running home from school daily in fifth grade. There were two girls – one lived on my block, and the other was in my fifth grade class. What was interesting about the school bully was that the teacher knew that I was being constantly bullied by this girl. I told her. I was involved in a fight after school. Actually it was no fight; I was usually beaten unless I could outrun her (which I often did). Think about it for a minute. The adult that I trusted, my teacher offered no refuge for me except to let me out of school a few minutes early or to keep me after class with the hopes that the other student got tired of waiting and went home. My mother had a different approach altogether. There was no sitting down with the parent of the bully on the block and talking things out. Oh no. My mother talked to me and said “you fight back”. She actually spanked me when I came home crying indicating once again that I hadn’t fought back! Now I know that my mother did the best she could to help me protect myself against the girls who were bullying me. Then, it was a nightmare!

According to MBMBD: http://www.makebeatsnotbeatdowns.org/facts_new.html
90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.

Today, there is a plethora of anti-bullying resources available to parents. One website, Kidpower offers resources to not only parents but youth and teens to protect against bullying, molestation, abduction and other violence. http://www.kidpower.org/
One of the reasons that I like having dinner with family is that you get to ask and talk about your day and your children’s day. It helps if there are siblings who also go to the same school, because often siblings tell what’s going on when the child being harassed won’t.
If your child becomes withdrawn, won’t eat or communicate with you, let him or her spend time with grandma or grandpa or another close family member to see if they will share what’s causing them to withdraw. If a family member is not available, check with your child’s school for the name of the school psychologist or social worker. Bullying is devastating and doesn’t go away on its own.

C. Lynn Williams, #msparentguru
Author and Parenting Coach

Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)

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Entry filed under: Parenting. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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