One in 7 students in US schools is a bully or a victim of a bully. Bullies frequently have emotional problems, histories of extreme distress or PTSD, and inadequate problem solving and social skills. They certainly have no empathy for their victims. Bullying the Bully is not the answer. Find out what you can do as a parent.

Kids Getting Bullied At School

Bullying happens at all ages.  In younger grades, bullying happens most often on the playground or lunchroom. Children are frequently not able to stop bullies by themselves.   Therefore, playgrounds and lunches must be closely monitored.   Teens are more likely to use cyber-bullying and girls are more likely to use social rejection.

One in 7 students in US schools is a bully or a victim of a bully.  Almost 5 million students in this country have been bullied in school.  Bullying is detrimental for the school, the victim and the bully.  The school atmosphere is disrupted by bullying and children can feel unsafe.  The victim of a bully can be injured physically and psychologically.  The bully can also be harmed because every time he bullies without being corrected, he believes that his behavior is acceptable.”  Therefore, he will do the same thing again if given the opportunity.  Parents need to inform schools about bullying and teachers must act on all bullying reports.

High Profile Bullying

Kid Getting Bullied At School jumped off of bridge

Two high profile bullying events ended with tragic results.  Six teens were accused of bullying Phoebe Prince in January in a Massachusetts school.  Phoebe eventually committed suicide in reaction to relentless bullying.  Trials were conducted early in 2011.  Back several years ago, two college students allegedly videotaped Tyler Clementi having sex and streamed it on the internet. This was a horrible case of cyberbullying.  Tyler jumped off of the George Washington Bridge and committed suicide in reaction to the bullying he endured.  We must help our children understand the harm they cause by bullying others and help victims get support and end bullying when it happens.   We must create an atmosphere where bullying in any form is not acceptable.
Kid Getting Bullied At School-looking-for-prey

How Bullys Look For Their Prey

Bullies sometimes look for children who are quiet, shy, timid or unsure of themselves. That’s because these children are less likely to fight back.  Victims of bullies will be debilitated by the experience, especially if it is severe or chronic.  Victims of bullying often need the assistance of someone in authority to get the behavior stopped.  Bullies do not usually stop until someone bigger and more powerful steps in, such as a teacher or administrator.  However, to avoid more bullying as aftermath, adults must obtain therapy, skill-building, conflict resolution, and monitoring for the perpetrator(s).  The victim(s) may need counseling, as well.  Over time, victims can become bullies, also.

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Emotional Problems Of A Bully

Bullies frequently have emotional problems, histories of extreme distress or PTSD, and inadequate problem solving and social skills. They certainly have no empathy for their victims.  Empathy takes a certain level of moral development.  Therefore, if a child, teen or adult is bullying, that person is delayed in the development of his or her interpersonal skills.  This is something we know how to fix.  These youth are at risk of breaking the law and later violence.  This is not something they will “grow out of” without support and help from wise and caring professionals.  The goal is to prevent further bullying.

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10 Ways To Help A Kid Getting Bullied At School

There are ten things parents should discuss with their children and teens about bullying and fighting.

  1. Children that are being bullied may be afraid or too embarrassed to try to get help.  They may need someone to stand up for them and stop the bullying.  For peers around them, there is something called the “bystander effect” where each person watching the bullying or fighting assumes that someone else will do something about the problem.   Sometimes, no one goes for help.  Tell your child to be the one that tells a teacher or a parent about a bullying problem.
  2. Respecting all people, no matter how different they may be, is essential for a better world.  We are all alike in some ways and different in some ways.  It is easy to like people who are just like us.  However, It is important to be kind and respectful to everyone, even if they are different from us.  That is how you grow up to be a strong, contented, healthy adult.   Programs such as “Character Counts” can be used in a school to strengthen these ideas.
  3. Learning to talk about problems, conflicts, and disputes is one of the keys to stopping bullying.  Some schools have peer mediation, which can be very helpful.  A great program is “Operation Respect” with the song from Peter Yarrow, “Don’t Laugh at Me” (
  4. Some people think that bullying is just a normal part of growing up.  Bullying is not normal and is wrong and harmful.   Many bullies come from homes where there is violence.  That’s what makes bullies think that violence is normal.  Violence is not normal and needs to be stopped by someone who is in charge of the group or school.  A great program to suggest to your school is the Olweus Bullying program.
  5. Bullies that are not corrected will continue to bully.  Bullies grow up to be very unhappy and sometimes violent adults unless they learn to solve their problems by talking.  They may end up being abusive toward their children, who then, also become bullies.  Nobody wants that.
  6. Most of the school shooters felt they were bullied or rejected by their peers.  Sometimes bullying is just the tip of the iceberg for a much larger problem.  There is no way to tell unless someone assesses the bully and the victim to see if there are larger problems and risk of violence.  Counseling can help a school bully or victim from developing more serious problems.
  7. Cyberbullying is becoming more common.   Get into the habit of having your child share the activity on his cell phone and social networking sites to monitor it for bullying activity as a bully or victim.  This is also a good opportunity for discussion, teaching moments, and setting boundaries. Monitoring and discussing your child’s activities is good parenting.
  8. The child should go to a teacher or parent for help if he is being bullied.  Parents can work to make their child comfortable in reporting a bully.  Bullies don’t stop unless a teacher or parent intervenes and then you have to watch for retaliation.  Parents sometimes tell a child to stop a bully by fighting back, but then the bully just picks on someone else.  Make sure you have an ongoing conversation with your child about what is happening in school, so you know the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  9. Young people may find it interesting to know that fighting may solve an issue for the minute, but only talking can resolve the problem for the long term.  Children that use violence to solve their problems need to learn new ways to solve problems.  This is not a quick fix, but one that will take months.  Therefore a youth may need to continue to ask for help until he is safe at school.
  10. Bullying can lead to severe outcomes such as the suicide of the victim and legal charges for the bully.

Bullying is an important topic for parents to discuss with their children.  The goal is for young people to neither bully or to be bullied.  Bullying needs to become an open dialogue where students, teachers, administrators, and parents work together and everyone takes responsibility for their part of the action plan.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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