Monday, October 10, 2011

Twelve Bullying Myths: Part 1

Twelve Bullying Myths: Myths #1-2
Article from, written by Valle Dwight

What do parents really need to know about bullying? It's not necessarily what you think.

Not a day goes by without another gut-wrenching tale of bullying making headlines. Schoolyards erupt in violence. Social-media sites turn into cyber lynch mobs. Kids commit suicide after enduring months of abuse. Despite all the media attention, parents often remain in the dark about what actions to take when it happens to their children — or when their children bully others.

What can parents really do? What are the signs to watch for? How do you distinguish garden-variety personality conflicts between kids (which may include some mean behavior) from actual bullying? We contacted two experts, Drexel University professor and director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence Charles Williams (aka Dr. Chuck) and clinical psychologist and author John Mayer, to clear up the the common misconceptions about bullying and give parents the facts.

Myth #1

You'll know when your child is being bullied

Just because your child doesn’t tell you he or she is being bullied doesn’t mean it’s not happening. In 2007 almost a third of middle and high schoolers reported that they’d been bullied at school. And those are the ones who admitted it. “It’s one of those silent issues,” Williams says. Many kids don’t speak up because they think that it will lead to more abuse, because they’re ashamed, and because of the powerful unwritten code against snitching.

If your child comes home with torn clothing; starts complaining about going to school; has unexplained bruises, cuts, and scratches; or seems depressed and socially isolated, these are signs of bullying. If you suspect bullying, keep talking with your child and go to the school for help and input. Talk with your child’s teacher, a school administrator, or a school counselor to notify them of any problems, ask if they’ve noticed any incidents, and work with them to deal with the problem sooner rather than later.

Myth #2

Bullying always includes physical aggression

Bullying is when one child regularly harasses another child. This could be verbal bullying like name-calling, teasing, and using threatening language. It can also be physical abuse like punching, shoving, hitting, and spitting. It can be electronic too, via texting and the Internet. There is a gray area, however, that is important for parents to understand. Is it bullying when a child is excluded from a game? Not necessarily, but if your child is regularly left out, by all means talk with the teacher. (Check out the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program for a more detailed explanation of bullying.)

Here are the types of harassment students reported in a recent survey:

• 21% said they had been called names, insulted, or made fun of
• 18% reported being the subject of rumors
• 11% said they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on
• 6% said they were threatened with harm
• 4% said they were made to do things they didn’t want to do
• 4% said their property was destroyed on purpose

Tomorrow will be more tips and myths on bullying


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