Thursday, October 13, 2011

Twelve Bullying Myths: Part 4

Twelve bullying myths: Myths #8-10

What do parents really need to know about bullying? It's not necessarily what you think.
Article from and written by Valle Dwight

Myth #8

Boys are more likely to be bullied

In a 2007 survey, almost 34 percent of girls reported being bullied, compared with 31 percent of boys. Although boys often bully in a physical way, girls’ style of bullying tends to be more indirect. Girls bully by creating a hostile environment for their victims; they may spread rumors or exclude their targets from activities.
“In a way, it’s easier [to do] because it’s not direct,” Williams says. And because it’s so easy to spread a rumor or make threats, mean-girl bullying can do a lot of damage — without the physical clues for parents to pick up on. If your daughter is acting sad, depressed, and moody and is reluctant to go to school, talk to her about bullying.

Myth #9

Cyber-bullying is the gateway to other bullying

Actually, most bullying starts with face-to-face encounters and later may progress to texting, social media, and YouTube — which ups the harassment and humiliation with even more hurtful, and possibly fatal, results.

All the more reason to stop bullying before it goes viral, Williams says. If adults are vigilant and stop the bullying at school, it may never get to the cyber stage. And if your child is being bullied online? Don’t brush it off. Report it to the school, and if physical threats have been made, get copies of the messages and report them to the police. Also, encourage your child to come to you if he or she sees cyber-bullying happening to another kid.

Cyber bullying is on the rise. In a recent study of digital abuse by AP and MTV, 56 percent of teens and young adults ages 14 to 24 reported being bullied through social and digital media – up from 50 percent in 2009, just two years prior.

Myth #10

Parents are always their kids' best defender

Too often, Williams says he sees parents who dismiss their children’s reports of being teased and taunted. "You'd be surprised at how adults respond. They tell their kids to stop tattling or stop whining." Teachers and other school leaders have also dismissed the problem, says Williams, often with tragic results.

Mayer says the only way to stop bullying is for adults to play an active role and take complaints about bullying seriously. Parents need to set consequences when they see or hear about their own children’s aggression, including bullying among siblings. “Parents have to stop the behavior from the start,” he says. “They can’t tolerate it at home or with anyone in the family.”

As for parents of the victims, explain that “there is something wrong” with the child who is bullying their kids. Victims are suffering from regular abuse and their self-esteem has been chipped away, while their sense of powerlessness has sky-rocketed. They need all the reassurance they can get that this isn’t their fault — they didn’t cause the problem. “Make sure your child knows they are not the problem,” says Mayer. "They’re not damaged. The other kid is.”


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