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Helping To Stop Bullying and
A World Where Kids Get Along With And Respect Each Other
This Is How That Picture Should Look
should be a time filled with wonder and joy, but the
reality for many kids and teens is often much different.
They're the victims of bullying at school or on neighborhood
Please visit our sister site www.stompoutbullying.org to learn more!
Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies
often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas
those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more
serious antisocial behaviors. Some kids are so traumatized
by being bullied, that they contemplate suicide. Bullies
often have been the victims of bullying or other mistreatment
Despite installing metal detectors and surveillance
cameras in schools, many students are still fearful
of violence because schools are not addressing bullying
as a serious issue.
Bullying has become more prevalent than ever and students
Security measures to combat gun violence have done little
to stop the school bully. The reports found that 9 percent
of students said they were threatened or injured with
a weapon in 2001, a slight increase from two years ago.
The report further showed a 3 percent increase in the
number of students who reported being bullied.
Bullying is commonly accepted as part of the school
tradition. Schools and parents must work together to
end this painful and at times fatal tradition.
• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.
• 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing
• 8% of students miss 1 day of class per month for
fear of Bullies.
• 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• 100,000 students carry a gun to school.
• 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed
violence at home.
• A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think
violence increased at their schools.
• 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary
schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as
opposed to on the way to school.
• 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will
end up in a physical fight.
• 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another
student threaten to kill someone.
• 1 out of 5 teens knows someone who brings a gun
• 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or
know where to get the information to do it.
• Almost half of all students say they know another
student who's capable of murder.
• Playground statistics - Every 7 minutes a child
is bullied. Adult intervention -4% Peer intervention
- 11%. No intervention - 85%.
Most Recent Bureau of Justice Statistics
- School Crime & Safety
• 1/3 of students in grades 9-12 reported that someone
sold or offered them an illegal drug on property.
• 46% of males, and 26% of females reported they
had been in physical fights.
• Those in the lower grades reported being in twice
as many fights as those in the higher grades.
Bullying And What You Can Do About It
Bullying behavior is not always easy to define. Where
do you draw the line between good-natured ribbing and
bullying? Hostility and aggression directed toward a victim
who is physically or emotionally weaker than the bully
are more obvious signs of bullying. The result of this
behavior is pain and distress for the victim.
Bullying is a form of child abuse and
the bully is very likely to grow up as an adult who abuses
Types of Bullying
Bullying behavior comes in various forms:
• Physical bullying is perhaps the most obvious
form of intimidation and can consist of kicking, hitting,
biting, pinching, hair pulling, and making threats. A
bully may threaten to punch a child if he doesn't give
up his lunch money, for example.
• Verbal bullying often accompanies the physical
behavior. This can include name calling, spreading rumors,
and persistent teasing.
• Emotional intimidation is closely connected
to these two types of bullying. A bully may deliberately
exclude a child from a group activity such as a class
• Racist bullying can take many forms: making
racial slurs, spray painting graffiti, mocking the victim's
cultural traditions, and making offensive gestures.
• Sexual bullying is characterized by unwanted
physical contact or abusive comments. For example, many
girls experience the embarrassment of having their bra
strap snapped by a bully.
Why Some Kids Bully
There are many reasons why a child may become a bully.
They may turn to this abusive behavior as a way of dealing
with being bullied and abused or living in a home where
there is domestic violence. And just like their victims,
bullies often have low self-esteem. Whatever the cause,
bullies usually pick on others as a way of dealing with
their own problems. Sometimes they pick on kids because
they need a victim, someone who is weaker, to feel more
important, powerful, or in control. They're often bigger
or stronger than their victims and may use bullying as
an attempt to achieve popularity and friends.
Bullies will often target someone who is different than
others and focus on that attribute. Wearing glasses, being
overweight, or being in a wheelchair are all differences
that can be game for a bully's ridicule. A child doesn't
have to be physically different from other children to
be bullied. Being insecure, or smarter, or slower than
their peers can also make some kids the target of bullying.
The bully realizes that these children are unlikely to
If Your Child Is Being Bullied
Do you suspect that your child is being bullied? Sometimes
the effects of bullying aren't as obvious as a black eye.
Other signs to look for include the sudden appearance
of bruises, missing belongings, or the invention of mysterious
illnesses or stomachaches to avoid going to school. Your
child may be embarrassed or feel weak by admitting he's
the victim of a bully.
To make it easier for your child to talk about it, consider
asking some thoughtful questions. For example, you could
ask what it's like walking to the bus stop or home from
school. Often a child will unexpectedly change routines
to avoid a bully. Or you could ask about what happens
before or after school or during recess. You might also
try asking if there are any bullies in the neighborhood
who have threatened to hurt any kids your child knows.
This might make it easier for your child to talk about
bullies because he won't necessarily have to talk about
his own experiences. It might also help your child realize
that he's not alone.
If you learn that your child is the victim of a bully,
do not overreact. Remember that your child is the victim;
you do not want to add to your child's burden with an
angry or blaming response. Although it's understandable
that hearing your child is being bullied would make you
sad or upset, try not to let your child see that - he
might interpret your sadness as disappointment in him.
Helping Your Child Stand Up To A Bully
First, listen to your child. Just talking about
the problem and knowing that you care can be helpful and
comforting. Your child is likely to feel vulnerable, so
it's important that you let him know you're on his side
and that you love him.
Talk to your child about why some people act like bullies.
Remember that your child may feel guilty, that he is somehow
to blame. Reassure your child that he did not cause the
bullying. Explain that kids who bully are usually confused
How can your child handle a hostile confrontation with
a bully? Getting angry or violent won't solve the problem;
in fact, it's giving the bully exactly what he wants.
And responding with physical aggression can put your child
at risk. On the other hand, going along with everything
the bully says is not a good way to handle the situation.
Your child must regain his sense of dignity and recover
his damaged self-esteem - agreeing to be a victim won't
Empower your child to act first. For example, suggest
that your child look the bully in the eye and firmly say,
"I don't like your teasing and I want you to stop
right now." Your child should then walk away and
ignore any further taunts from the bully. If your child
fears physical harm, he should try to find a teacher or
move toward friends who can provide comfort and support.
Because bullies often target socially awkward children,
you should encourage your child to develop more friendships.
Suggest your child join social organizations, clubs, or
teams. Encourage him to invite other kids over after school
on a regular basis. Sometimes just being in a group with
other kids can keep a child from being victimized.
In most cases, bullying won't require your direct intervention,
but if you fear that your child may be seriously harmed,
it's important that you step in. That may mean walking
action and report it to the school immediately. Working together
with your schools to institute conflict resolution programs
may embarrass your child, but his safety should be your primary
Tell Your Child:
• Coping with bullying can be difficult,
but remember, they are not the problem, the bully is!
They have a right to feel safe and secure.
• If they are different in some way, be proud of it!
• Stand strong!
• Spend time with your friends - bullies hardly ever
pick on people if they're with others in a group.
• They've probably already tried ignoring the bully,
telling them to stop and walking away whenever the
bullying starts. If someone is bullying them, they should
always tell an adult you can trust.
This isn't telling tales.
Kids and teens have the right to be safe and adults can do
things to get the bullying stopped. Even if they think
they've solved the problem on their own, tell
an adult anyway, in case it happens again. An adult
they can trust might be you, a teacher, school
principal, someone else from your family, or a friend's parent.
• If they find it difficult to talk about being bullied,
they might find it easier to write down what's been
happening to them and give it to you or an adult
What Can Your Child Do If They See Someone
Else Being Bullied?
• If they see someone else being bullied
they should always try to stop it. If they do nothing,
they're saying that bullying is okay with them.
The best way to help is probably to tell
an adult. It's always best to treat others the way they
would like to be treated.
• Show the bully that they think what they're doing
is stupid and mean. Help the person being bullied to tell an adult they can trust.
If Your Child Is A Bully
• Watch for signs of bullying.
• Don't allow your child to control others through verbal
threats and physical actions.
• Help your child develop empathy for the problems of
the victim (target).
• Apply clear, consistent, escalating consequences for
repetitive aggressive behaviors.
• Provide anger management counseling for your child
• Don't tolerate revengeful attitudes.
• Don't allow your child to have contact with aggressive
• Limit your child's exposure to models of aggressive
behavior such as violent television, movies and video
• As a parent, be a good role model for constructively
• As a parent, be a good role model for getting along
• As a parent, help your child develop a healthy physical
• Watch for the emergence of feelings of power and control.
• As a parent, know the whereabouts of your child.
• As a parent, protect your child from physical and
emotional abuse at home.
You can help modify a bullying child's behavior by controlling
your own aggression, along with the behavior of your children.
If an older brother or sister frequently taunts, teases, or
bullies your child, it's likely to damage that child's self-esteem
and make him more likely to model that aggressive behavior
outside the home by attacking other kids.
Parents really need to get more involved in their children's
lives. That way they will be more sensitive to problems occurring.
Promote honesty. Ask questions. Listen with an open mind and
focus on understanding. Allow children to express how they
feel, and treat a child's feelings with respect. Set a good
example by showing them a healthy temperament. Settle conflicts
by talking things out peacefully. Congratulate or reward them
when you see them using these positive skills to settle a
difference. Teach them to identify "the problem",
and focus on the problem, "not" attacking "the
person." Tell them conflicts are a way of life, but violence
doesn't have to be. And finally, teaching them to take responsibility
for their own actions will make for a healthier child, a healthier
self-esteem, and there will be no need for any "bullies"
or "victims" in the world.
Set limits for your bullying child. Stop any show of aggression
immediately and help your child find other, nonviolent ways
of reacting to certain situations. Observe your child in one-on-one
interactions and remember to praise your child for appropriate
behaviors. Positive reinforcement can be very powerful.
Talking to your child's school staff may also help. Tell them
your child is trying to change his behavior and ask how they
can help. It may be helpful for you and your child to meet
with an educational psychologist or other mental health professional.
Finally, set realistic goals for your child. Don't expect
him to change immediately. As he learns to modify his behavior,
it's important to assure your child that you still love him
- it's his behavior that you don't like.
Work With The Schools To Help Stop Bullies
Many schools already have a way of dealing with
bullying. They may:
• Have anti-bullying guidelines and procedures for dealing
• Encourage anyone who is being bullied, or has witnessed
bullying to tell someone about it
• Have ‘bully boxes’ where people can leave
notes about what is happening
• Have student meetings or even ‘courts’
where problems like bullying are discussed and dealt
• Have specially assigned students or teachers who are
there to help
If your school has an anti-bullying system, use it to get
help. If you’re not sure how it works, talk to a teacher.
Some schools ignore bullying. If your school does, don’t
be resigned to being a victim. You can still help yourself
and ask others to help you.
It's all about talking it out: Child to Child (Peer Mediation),
Teacher to Parent (PTO's, PTA's), Teacher to Teacher (in service
days), Parent to Child (at home). There should be town meetings
involving the parents, students, and entire school faculty
to discuss Conflict Resolution. The teachers should also allow
the students to give "their" ideas on how they would
like situations handled. For younger students, role playing
of "victims" and "bullies" in the classroom
will help them understand the cause and effect - how it feels.
Another idea for younger kids getting picked on could be to
have an older student assigned as a type of mentor that he
could talk to, and who would step in to settle a conflict
or dispute. Groups have also been created where victims and
their parents can meet with other victims and discuss solutions.
It's comforting to know you're not alone, and friendships
can be made there. Many schools admit that the lockers are
the most common place that bullying takes place. Teachers
could take turns standing by these lockers during class changes.
The schools can also pass out questionnaires, and do surveys
or polls to find out what students and parents think about
what is happening and what they would like to see done. Some
teachers have told me that their schools put up a peace flag
outside on days when there is no conflict in the school. This
promotes a pride in the school, and teaches them that even
one person's actions can have consequences that affect everyone.
Other schools are using posters, and having the students wear
certain colors on certain days.
A local school in Pennsylvania participated in “Annual
Week Without Violence.” One program included, "Hands
Around Violence." Students made paper cutouts of their
hand prints and wrote nonviolent messages on them, such as:
"I will not use my hands or words for hurting."
The "Pledge Hands" served as a visual reminder that
together they can make a difference.
Other activities included a white out, where students wore
as much white as possible to symbolize peace, a unity day,
where students wore their school colors, and a smile day,
where each student received a smile card and handed that card
over to the first person to smile at them.
Another great idea schools are using is to have teachers hold
up pictures of kids faces while asking the students, "How
does this person feel?" This promotes a discussion aimed
at helping kids to identify and describe emotions. And for
teens, pictures of conflicts or stressful situations can be
used to promote discussion & ideas for resolution.
Let kids know it's OK to talk about problems; that parents
and teachers are willing to listen, and eager to help. Also,
if your kids/students are "bystanders" to their
friends, or other kids being bullied, tell them how important
it is for them to help these kids by reporting it. If they
are afraid, they can use an anonymous tip, or tell the teachers
not to use their name when confronting the bully.
The anonymous tip is only suggested for those victims who
fear revenge from the bully in the form of physical abuse
for their "snitching." Yes, in many cases the name
of the victim will have to be given in order for the conflict
to be directly approached. A bully being accused of attacking
a "nameless" child might try to talk his way out
of it. But if a name is used in relating to a particular incident
with a specific child, and if there was proof, or witnesses,
it's harder to deny.
Telling is not tattling! When a kid or teen
reports bullying they may be saving their own life or the
life of a friend.
Parents Can Learn More About Bullying Below:
Bullying And Guns At School
Bullying Prevention Bill Of Rights For Parents and Students
Bullying Prevention Laws
Parents Helping to Stop Bullying and School Violence
Time For School ... Time For Bullying Prevention
What Parents Can Do To Stop Bullying
Kids Can Learn More About Bullying Below:
Bullying At School
Bullying: What Have I Ever Done To You
Cell Phone and Text Messaging Safety
Online Safety For Kids and Teens
Miss Teen New Jersey International 2007 Stand Against Bullies
Helping your child cope with either being a bully or being
a victim often requires outside assistance, such as from your
child's school or the community. School is the most likely
place for bullying to occur, so discuss your concerns with
your child's teachers and counselor and ask what they can
do to help. School personnel can be influential in helping
a child modify his behavior. Take advantage of any psychological
counseling services that may be offered at your child's school
or in your community.
Additional Help Resources
American Academy of Pediatrics
Advice on Communicating with Children about Disasters
American Psychiatric Association
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Psychological Association
Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)
The ChildTrauma Academy
National Association of School Psychologists
The National Register of Health Service Providers in
© All rights reserved. Love Our Children USA 1999 - 2012
© All rights reserved. Love Our Children USA 1999-2009