Kids are bullied for no less than the clothes they wear or telephones they have. Constant advertising to kids gives them something else to add to their arsenal. J.C. Penney pulled a back-to-school ad because it may have promoted this by advertising bullying. ‘My stuff is better than yours’ is often something kids use to torment others and kids are literally killing themselves over it. How often have you heard your child say that all the other kids have them, or something similar? Does he lose something he thought was really great until he was teased about having it?
Children do not like to tell their parents they are being bullied and we had missed the signs because no one told us what to look for. Would you recognize the signs in your child if he or she were being bullied?
According to StopBullying.gov, there are many signs your child may exhibit that can let you know they are either being bullied or are the bully. Has your child withdrawn from things they used to enjoy? Are they having nightmares? Are they afraid of going to school or are frequently too ill to attend? Do they have friends who seem to be bullies? Are they over-aggressive? Do they have new things they cannot account for?
Is your child a victim? Other kids often say terrible and embarrassing things about their victims, such as, “too poor to afford” “un-cool’, to put it mildly, and sometimes outright lies about their character. If you are unaware of the social media sites your child visits, don’t be afraid to check their browsing history or put a parent guard on the computer to protect them. Do an internet search of social media sites and then check them to see if your child’s name comes up. The cell phone accounts are in your name; check their messages and texting history. Block texting on their phones or limit data usage. They won’t like it, but it’s your job and you are trying to keep them safe. When you watch those advertisements on television, ask your kids what they think about it. If they start bombarding you to get something they’ve seen advertised, ask why they want it? Teenaged kids often act as if their parents are invisible, so when you hear them talk about another kid not having something and being cruel about it, ask them why they feel that way and if they are causing trouble for the other kid over it, or ask if they are getting teased about not having it themselves if that is the case.
There are resources to help children who are being bullied and their parents or guardians.
RemovingChains.org is part of the Don’t Stand Alone – Stop Bullying program for victims at school. They have chat rooms for both victims and parents to discuss what is going on and how to cope with and/or stop this from happening. They have demonstration videos also to help you on your journey of healing the pain.
Bullyingstatistics.org can help you find out the latest news on what bullying is and the laws regarding bullying. The statistics are astounding, such as, one in four students in the United States is being bullied whether directly in school or online.
The Bully Project (bullyproject.com) is a resource for educators to understand bullies and their victims and how to handle them.
If, as an adult, you have ever experienced a bully in the workplace then you know how hard it is to manage on a daily basis knowing what you are going to face when you walk onto that job site. The stress builds until you become physically ill, or depressed. Many will just move on to other jobs; some may eventually hurt themselves or others. Now imagine being a child and unable to make changes. You feel that mom and dad are not likely to move the family to accommodate getting away from a school bully. Children are not equipped to deal with those stresses or know how to talk about them. Support groups and online resources have made considerable improvements in how parents deal with the trauma their children have gone through. Take advantage of them; you’ll be glad you did.