Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn
- Why I’m Writing This Post – My Personal Experience Being Bullied
- Bullying Has Changed From What It Used To Be
- Some Bullying Statistics
- Some Schools Have No Procedure To Deal With Bullying
- 6 Common Types Of Bullying
- Bullying Warning Signs To Watch For
- How To Prevent Bullying
- Traits Of A Healthy Relationship
- 5 Basic “To Do’s” If You’re Bullied
- What A Winconson School Is Doing
The Hard Truth
I’m going to be very upfront. Bullying today is nothing like it used to be. Though bullying has been around from the dawn of time, from sticks and stones will break my bones…bullying has changed. From the mass shootings, stabbings, and people committing suicide because they can’t deal with the pressure….today…Bullying Literally Kills!
I Was Bullied My Whole Life
I was a victim of bullying my entire life. I kid you not! From the time I was in kindergarten, I remember kids taking my lunch and spilling it all over the basketball court, pulling my hair while on the climbers, and name-calling to an extent, when I think about it now, it’s outrageous. Move me up a few years later to middle school, they were pushing me in the hall and continued name-calling. Move me up to highschool and there were kids tripping me while I was walking between classes, people defiling my locker with horrible drawings, words and posters. Move me up to college and these ADULTS were throwing my books on the floors and still calling me names. One more move up to adult life in the workforce….guess what…the talking behind my back and the name-calling continued. (For certain people)
It honestly wasn’t until I took control of my life and really started paying attention to even what I was doing in my life and who I was hanging around did I finally see I can limit the bullying. So, I cut ALL negative people out of my life, worked hard and still am on my own personal growth and guess what….though some office politics still occur on occasion, which is going to happen, my life is 100% better.
There was a saying I heard once, not sure who it is by….”If you are friends with everyone, you are doing something wrong” – This can not be truer.
Now, you may be thinking, what the heck! What is wrong with this girl to be tormented for so long and like that. Well, I was close to the “lowest on the totem pole”. On top of that, I came from a low-income household so I was never able to wear nice looking clothes, my hair was…well not well maintained and I 100% looked nerdy. Until I hit college, I can see why they made fun of me. I was an easy target for those who needed to feel superior.
Now, years later, I have settled down and had my own children. As we speak, I just finished having #3! They are my world and to see them in pain kills me. So the day my oldest daughter came home and told me how she was bullied, I felt something I NEVER expected. ….The same feeling I felt when I was bullied. I felt that again. ….I almost cried. The fear I felt in that moment for her. “What if she has to go through school like I did and is teased, physically hurt, or worse”. Now….I write this post to hopefully give other parents, guardians and caregivers hope for the children of our future because nothing is more dissatisfying than seeing and hearing your kids are being bullied.
Everyone deals with bullies at some point in their lives. Even as adults. We just call it office politics. Now that your kids are back in school for the new year, that means another year of dealing with those bullies too.
As much as I don’t want to bore you with numbers, it’s important to understand and see how much bullying is taking place.
From the Website: StopBullying.gov, here are some stats I was able to find:
- Every 7 MINUTES a child is being bullied
- 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
- 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying
- When someone intervenes, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time
- 1 in 4 people report they were bullied
It’s unfortunate we have to go through life being taunted at. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, tall or short, overweight or thin, it happens to all of us. We implement anti-bullying campaigns all over the world trying to combat the problem and making kids aware of how bullying affects them and everyone around them. However, despite our awareness and attempts to stop or even reduce it, it will still happen.
The Pit In Your Stomach
As parents, hearing your child comes home talking about someone calling them names, other kids chasing them around and kicking stuff at them, stealing their books and throwing them on the ground, tripping, pushing, you name it, there grows a pit in your stomach and you just wish you could take their pain away. You as a parent sometimes feel hopeless and frustrated. Why can’t other kids stop?
Let’s not forget my favourite part! (Sarcasm) Your child comes home and expresses what went on that day and you see they’re hurt. Of course, as parents, we ask them, “Did you tell a teacher?” Their response, “Yes, but they just told the other kid to stop and the second the teacher turns away they started again!” Sometimes the teacher will tell them, “You’re fine.”….. ….. Are you kidding me? I find all too many times my kids are coming home letting me know they are taking the steps we talk about to resolve the problems and I feel the teachers or caregivers just are not taking the appropriate steps for some of the behaviours.
What My Kids Deal With…
My oldest daughter was being chased around the schoolyard by two girls, two grades higher than her. They told her to stay away from a friend of hers. They even went as far as kicking rocks and sand at her and another girl she was with. She told the teacher and the teacher expressed to the other girls to stop and leave her alone. Right as the teacher turns away, the kids proceeded to torment them again. She went back and told the teacher and was told, “You’ll be fine!”. It wasn’t until I called the school Principal the next day and expressed my concern that anything was done with these girls. To ALSO find out they are known for this behaviour and nothing has been done about it either. Wow….no wonder kids fight back!
I’m sure some of you fully understand my frustration as it has either happen to you as a child or worse, your own children!
No Formal Procedure
Turns out, there are a lot of schools that don’t have a common procedure to deal with these bullying fiascos. It is determined by the teacher/principal at the time what the precautions/disciplines should be. My daughter’s school is, unfortunately, is one of them.
This is disgusting! We need to implement something into the system across the Board on the steps we need to be taking to deal with these kids and incidents.
Now that my rant is over….Let’s look at how we can give our kids and you the proper tools to deal with the bullying they may encounter.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying comes in so many forms, sometimes our kids have no idea they are even a victim. It is super important everyone in the home is aware of what they are.
6 Common Types Of Bullying
Common Warning Signs
There are many possible signs that will give off there is something going on, but here are 13 of the more commonly encounters signed your child may be a victim of bullying:
- Loss of Appetite
- Lost or Damaged Items
- Self Harm
- Frequent Requests to Miss School
- Unexplained Injuries
- Grades Taking a Plunge
- Sudden Behavioral Changes
- Sleep Disturbances
- Withdrawing from Extracurricular Activities
- Abnormal Frequency of Feeling Ill
- Sudden Change in Friend or Become Isolated
- Not Willing to Talk About What is Bothering Them
- Change In Amount of Tech They Use
If you notice your kids going through any of the above-noted warning signs, GET INVOLVED RIGHT AWAY! Do NOT wait to talk to them. Especially with older children, you never know when it may be too late.
A Personal Suicide From Bullying
One morning, back when I was in high school, there was a 16-years-old boy we waited for at the bus stop. He never showed that day. I thought it was odd as he usually never missed school. Later that day there was a teacher that came to each classroom to inform us that boy had committed suicide in his home the night prior.
Warning – Graphic Information……….He had hung himself from his bedroom ceiling fan and was found the next morning when his mom went in to get him up for school. The class was shocked and this was super emotional for his close friends and even people who didn’t know him. Why? Because people kept teasing him he was Gay. Back then, it was a huge deal if you were Gay. People didn’t accept it at all. So he ended his life. I struggled with his death for years as we were extremely close, but no one even knew about it because he was teased for hanging out with me too. (RIP Matthew)
So again, if you recognize these signs, PLEASE GET HELP FOR YOUR KIDS!
How To Prevent Bullying
In my opinion, understanding what a “Healthy Relationship” is will be a huge importance. If you have no idea what a healthy relationship is, how can you understand an unhealthy one?
Qualities Of A Healthy Relationship
- Friendship – You feel like you are each other’s best friend (or good friend)
- Open Communication – You are able to tell each other everything and don’t keep secrets
- Trust & Reliability – Know you will be there for each other in hard times, good times, and bad times
- Supportiveness – They support your decisions and don’t try to bring you down
- Forgive Each Other For Wrongdoings – If you mess up, you forgive and forget. No holding wrongdoings over you and bringing it up again. Once forgiven you move on.
- Make sure you discuss WHAT bullying is and WHAT it looks like. Like I mentioned before, your child may not even know they are being bullied if they have not been talked with on what to look for. This also includes what THEY may do which could be considered as bullying. Hurtful jokes, talking bad behind someone’s back or being judgemental of others. We want our kids to understand it’s not just what we are looking for in other’s but what we are looking for in ourselves.
- Keep open lines of communications. Kids need to know there is someone in the household or someone close to them they can freely discuss things. Make sure you are talking to your kids DAILY about their social lives. What is going on? Who are they hanging out with? Anything bad happen today? What good things happen today? Get involved and stay involved!
- Monkey-See-Monkey-Do Kids will usually demonstrate behaviours we portray. Making sure we are treating others the way we want to be treated is also extremely important. Though, I’m sure that goes without me saying it.
5 Basic “TO DO’s” If You’re Bullied
- Ask Them To Stop & Walk Away Immediately! As soon as anyone is bullying you or making you feel uncomfortable, you need to make sure you are saying clearly and loudly to STOP and walk in the opposite direction immediately. Even my kids will come home and tell me they were teased at school and they told the teacher, but when I ask them if they told the other person to STOP and walk away they say no. Too many times kids will stay where they are because they feel they shouldn’t need to move, but if you have a Bully Tagger, they need to relocate.
- Tell Someone! Anyone…right away that you are being bullied. Don’t wait for it to happen again. Make sure you are telling an adult. If that adult doesn’t do anything about it, make sure you are finding someone TO DO something about it. Maybe the teacher doesn’t do anything, so you tell your parents and they can make a call to the school. Just like I did.
- You’re Stronger In Numbers. If you have a bully tagging along every recess or lunch period, get a group of your friends to stay close for a while. Bullies are less tempted when the numbers outrank them.
- Make Them Feel Powerless. Either Act Unimpressed or Laugh Hysterically. The number ONE reasons a bully will keep attacking is because you give them power! As soon as they see they can get under your skin, it’s target time. Over and over and over. If you encounter a bully, don’t give them what they want. Look at them like you are not impressed, roll your eyes, laugh uncontrollably like it doesn’t bother you at all. Bullies will pick on the weakest link. So stay strong and DO NOT ENGAGE…..EVER!
- Restrict Account Access or Deleting Social Media. Sometimes the bullying is cyberbullying. With technology in the hands of most children these days, it’s almost inevitable you will encounter bullying over text, messenger, or some version of social medial. Numbers mean nothing on a screen. You are usually in isolation with this bully. However, most social media today allow you to BLOCK and Control who can access you. So either block them or delete your accounts.
What A School In Wisconsin Is Doing!
You know Bullying has become a huge issue when a School in Wisconsin starts issuing FINES to parents for the “bullying” Child!
Just this year, 2019, Wisconsin passed a new law that will fine the parent of the bullying child for either in person or online bullying. First, the parents will get a warning note and are given 90 days to correct the behaviour. Thereafter, if the child is caught or no improvement, the parents are given a fine of $366. Second offences are $681.
Let’s be honest for a second here….who the heck can afford a fine for a child bullying in school and what in the world is this teaching your CHILD? Nothing in my opinion! Yes, this might actually encourage parents to take a little more action when it comes to their child bullying at the school and gets their child help for the behaviours if needed, but is issuing a fine to a family really going to make a huge difference? Absolutely not! Plus, on top of being a financial burden to the family, I wonder what kind of treatment some kids are going to get when the parent is notified they now have to pay a $366 fine for their kids’ behaviour
Instead of “fining” a parent, we need to be implementing procedures to make the child understand what they did was wrong. I know back in my day IN SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS SUCKED and they need to bring these back! If you send the child home, whoohoo day off classes and time with mom and dad. Plus again, the parent is out money because now they have an unexpected day of childcare. (If your child is under 12). For those who have older kids, again, this is just another day out of school.
Bullying is nasty. No matter what form it comes in. We try to teach our kids to be the best they can be and how to overcome situations where they become a victim of bullying. It is an unfortunate truth that as much as we want to protect them, it will be up to them to protect themselves. So make sure they know what to do and when. Stand their ground and don’t let them be discouraged by the world around them.
Let’s embrace our kids, equip them with the tools needed and let them conquer the world and hope they become the change we want to see in this world.
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