The Big Bully? What is Bullying?

We all can remember the big bully. Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically it is repeated over time. A child who is being bullied usually has a hard time defending himself or herself

Bullying can take on many different forms:

  • Physical Bullying - hitting or punching
  • Verbal Bullying - teasing or name calling
  • Nonverbal or emotional bullying - intimidation using gestures or social exclusion
  • sending insulting messages by e-mail

Is the Big Bully getting worse?

75% of children said they have experienced one or more of these forms of bullying

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Is Bullying the Same Thing As Conflict?

No. Conflict involves a dispute among two or three people. Any two people can have a conflict, bullying only occurs when there is a power imbalance - where one child has a hard time defending him or herself. Or one who has been preyed upon by the "big bully."

The difference between bullying and conflict is important because resolution or mediation strategies can be misused to solve bullying problems. These strategies send the message that both children have an involvement and need to work out their differences

These messages are not appropriate in cases of bullying because there is a victim in bullying situations. The appropriate message to the child who is bullied should be, "Bullying is wrong and no one deserves to be bullied. We are going to do everything we can to stop it."

Is most Bullying Physical (involves hitting, shoving, and kicking)?

Physical bullying may be what first comes to mind when the subject of bullying is brought up. However, the most common form of bullying - for both boys and girls - are verbal bullying and social isolation. Examples of verbal bullying are name -calling and rumor-spreading. Examples of social isolation are leaving a child out on purpose or shunning them.

"Stop the Big Bully" Classes are Taught at Allen Sarac's Professional Karate Centers, Get free lessons by clicking links at right

Warning Signs that a Child is Being Bullied

Here is a warning list of symptoms of bullying:

  • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or belongings
  • Has few, if any fiends, with whom he or she spends time
  • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the bus, or taking part in school activities with peers (such as clubs)
  • Has lost interest in schoolwork or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical symptoms
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Experiences a loss of appetite
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem

What To Do If You Suspect That Your Child Is Being Bullied

If your child shows some of these signs, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is being bullies, but it is a possibility worth exploring. Talk to your child and talk with staff at school to learn more. Tell your child that you are concerned and that you would like to help.

Ask direct questions such as, "I'm worried about you. Are there any kids at school who may be picking on you, teasing you, or bullying you?" Or use a subtle question such as, "Are there any kids at school who you really don"t like? Why?"

"Stop the Big Bully" Classes are Taught at Allen Sarac's Professional Karate Centers, Get free lessons by clicking links at right

How To Intervene to Stop Bullying

When You See or Hear Bullying:

Immediately stop the bullying. You can do this by standing between the children or child who is being bullied and those who were doing the bullying, preferably blocking eye contact between them. Don't send any students away - especially bystanders. Don't immediately ask or discuss the reason for the bullying or try to sort out the facts.

Do support the bullied child in a way that allows him or her to regain self-control, to "save-face," and to feel supported and safe from retaliation. Make a point to see the child later in private if he or she is upset, but don;t ask what happened at the time of the incident. It can be uncomfortable to be questioned in front of other students. Let teachers know what happened so they can provide extra support and protection.

Do refer to the bullying behavior and to the relevant school rules against bullying. Use a matter-of-fact voice to state what behaviors you saw/heard. Let students know that bullying is unacceptable and against school rules.

Build Confidence, Repect and Pride. Allen Sarac's Professional Karate Centers teach and mentor those that have been bullied and those that used to do it. We must change these patterns of behavior, together!

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