As you’re driving home from school with your kids, you overhear them talking about another child in their class. Your child calls this other student a bully. And says that “they are mean.” As a parent, you may find yourself asking several different questions. “Is that child a bully? Is my child being bullied? What can I do to help my child stand up to a bully?” Here are some things that you need to know about bullying. This will help with identifying a bully and some resources that will help with bully prevention.
Bullying is defined by three things. First, it is intentional and purposeful behavior. The bully is intentionally aggressive towards another individual. Second, it is repeated behavior. This means that it happens over and over again. Third, it is characterized by an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim. When an incident meets these three things, it’s bullying.
What are the different types of bullying?
Bullying can take many different forms. Typically, it falls into one of three categories: direct, indirect, and cyberbullying. First, direct bullying is overt behavior. Some examples include verbal abuse, name-calling, and physical aggression (like hitting, kicking, punching). Second, there is indirect bullying. This is covert or hidden behavior. Some examples include spreading rumors, social isolation, name-calling, and defaming a person’s character. Third, there is cyberbullying. This is the type of behavior that occurs on social media.
How can I help my child when facing a bully?
When it comes to bullying prevention, parents can help in two ways. First, parents can help their children by being a role model. We can teach our children how to behave by showing kindness and respect to all people. Our children are always watching our behavior. They will use what they’ve seen us do as a guide for how they should behave. Second, we can teach our children to report instances of bullying to adults. Also, we can teach our kids to advocate for themselves. For example, they can stand up to the bully when in a safe space to do so. Likewise, we can teach our kids to report when they see a bully. Finally, we teach our children to show kindness and respect to all people.
There are several excellent resources that you can use to help with bully prevention.
- In Hillsborough County Public Schools, anyone is able to report a bully anonymously online.
- The Stop Bullying site has resources for parents, schools, and youth.
- The National Association of School Psychologists has several resources for families, students, and schools to help with identifying a bully and how to support those involved.