Counselors from Metro Crisis Services recently answered questions about being bullied and being a bully on Bully
They provided the following information for families, children and adults.
What can I do if my child has bullying behavior?
Bullying behavior involves an imbalance of power and is repetitious.
Your child needs to hear from you explicitly that it's not normal, ok, or tolerable for him or her to bully, to be bullied, or to watch other kids be bullied.
Watch for aggressive behavior or language and thinking that being mean is "funny".
Inquire about belongs that show up that you did not buy for your child.
Address the behavior specifically to all children as what is right and wrong.
Explain to your child that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Stop any acts of aggression you see, and talk about other ways your child can deal with the situation. Establish appropriate consequences for his or her actions.
Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your children's behavior. Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and use non-physical, non hostile consequences for rule violations.
Examine behavior and interactions in your own home. Is there something going on at home that is encouraging this type of behavior?
Model respect, kindness and empathy. You are your child's role model and he or she will learn to treat others with respect by watching you.
Avoid aggressive, intimidating, and abusive behaviors. Try to model social and emotional behaviors in the classroom and home setting that you would like to see reflected by children and teens.
What are some examples of bullying behavior?
Name calling, starting rumors, heckling, excluding others, taking other people's belongings, cyber bullying, texting or emailing mean things or pictures, pushing, blocking access, picking a fight, making threats.
Young children bully to get their needs met. Middle school age children who bully are self centered and focused only on their needs and pleasure. As you get older bullying is about control and approval.
Bullying is aggressive behavior to cause harm or distress, it's usually between persons with an imbalance of power and usually occurs repetitively.
What causes bullying behavior?
Bullies have average or above-average self-esteem.
They find satisfaction from causing harm to others,
seek attention or acceptance from peers, (lack of coping or maturity, a very "young" response).
Bullies seek to make themselves look tough and in charge,
have little empathy toward their victims or others.
Bullies seek to dominate other people or situations, and
are described as hot-tempered and impulsive.
Reports of bullying behavior are highest among middle school students.
Bullies are usually very self-centered in that they are concerned with only their own needs and pleasures. They frequently do not accept responsibility for their behavior or the consequences of their bullying
Bullying may be common among students who come from abusive homes or where physical punishment is frequently employed. Students frequently model behavior observed within their home environment, including abusive behavior exhibited by parents to each other or toward others.
Bullies frequently plan out their attacks. They often choose isolated locations or playgrounds, hallways, restrooms, or school buses where there may be limited adults supervision of their behavior.
What kind of help is available?
Schedule an appointment to talk with school staff such as your child's teacher(s) and the school counselor.
Share your concerns. Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must stop. Learn what kind of support services your school has. You can talk to local Sheriff department. You can call Metro Crisis Services. Look at stopbullying.gov
Don't ignore bullying, retaliate, think of a victim as "faulty"
When do you get professional help?
When there is an acute incident that feels traumatic or instills loss of hope.
When bullying is repetitive and minor interventions don't make a difference.
When school, physical, emotional health, sleep, relationships are being impacted.
You can call Metro Crisis Services for more information and assistance. They have a 24 hour a day free hotline: 1-888-885-1222. More information is available on www.metrocrisisservices.org. and www.stopbullying.gov
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