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Bullying - The Signs

What is Bullying ?

    Bullying can be described as any behavior towards another that is unwarrented, but let us go beyond the lighthearted teasing in which almost all children and even adults will, from time to time, engage in, to the persistant antagonistic behaviors which belittle and socially harm other children. These include namecalling, humiliation, exclusion, threat, hitting, extortion, blackmail, predudice. All are violent activities and are usually developed in early elementary school ages. According to studies, the most promonent time for being bullied, is in grade two, and for being a bully is in grade three. Although, most often, the bullying is short in duration, 1 day or perhaps 2, upwards of 20% of elementary age children will be the victom of persistant bullying, lasting a week or longer. The preteen years are most important in recognizing the traits of bullying in order to take corrective measures to head off what could become more serious and more violent behavior in middle and late teens and even into adulthood. Violence in adults is very often the result of being a bully or being a victim of bullying in childhood.

Most bullies tend to come from homes with;

  • little or no parent supervision.
  • Inconsistant discipline.
  • extremely rigid discipline.
  • little family and sibling closeness.

The following is a quote from a 1996 report by the American Psychological Association. "Those who reported the highest bullying behavior were also most likely to report 'significantly greater levels of forceful parental discipline, viewing of TV violence, misconduct at home and in the community, and fighting,' the researchers concluded. They also spent less time with adults, had fewer adult role models and fewer positive peer influences. Thirty-two percent of them lived in a step-family household and 36 percent lived in a single parent household. They also had a higher level of exposure to gang activity and easier access to guns."

The following is from North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Even though bullying is very similar to other forms of aggression, there can be some distinctive features:

  • The intention of bullying behavior is purposeful, rather than accidental
  • The goal is to actually gain control over another child through physical or verbal aggression.
  • Usually bullies make their attack without any real reason, other than they see their victim as an easy target.
  • Bullies are usually more popular with their peers than children who are simply aggressive.

Symptoms that a child might be a victim of bullying:
  • acts moody, sullen, or withdraws from family interaction
  • becomes depressed
  • loses interest in school work, or grades drop
  • loses appetite or has difficulty getting to sleep
  • waits to use the bathroom at home
  • arrives home with torn clothes, unexplained bruises
  • asks for extra money for school lunch or supplies, extra allowance
  • refuses to go to school (15 percent of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school)
  • wants to carry a protection item, such as a knife
For more imformation on bullying and youth violence along with preventive and intervention measures, please visit the following sites.
From Bully B'Ware - Stories and Articles on Bullying


Kids Who Terrorize Kids

From an article in GoodHousekeeping Sept.1998

You and your kids can win the battle against schoolyard bullies.

This is Ellen Levine with

Good Advice From Good Housekeeping.

   Many parents consider young troublemakers a part of growing up, telling their own kids to fight back or ignore them. But it's a bigger problem than many realize. One survey found that 17 per cent of junior high kids, in cities and suburbs, have been victims of in-school intimidation, physical assault, or robbery. And that's just those who admit it. Schools often look the other way these days, wanting to avoid negative publicity or litigation.
   But you can take action. Stress to your kids that when approached, they should refuse a bully's demands, leave the area, and tell an adult. Teach them to move confidently: don't look like a victim. Keep a record of any incidents and meet with school officials. If they won't help, go to the police, especially if bullying escalates to violence.
   Most important, keep the lines of communication open with your child. And let him know you'll stand up for his rights if he needs your help.

Taming a Bully

An Article By - BY JOYCE BROTHERS, Ph.D.

GoodHousekeeping Sept. 1998

   Q: Our 10-year-old beats up and threatens smaller children. My husband's reaction is to punish him physically every time we hear of an incident. He feels we need to be tough; I think he's being too harsh. Who's right?
   A: Your husband's feelings are understandable, but physical punishment will likely only worsen your son's bullying. Studies show that severe punishment actually fosters the anger and resentment that fuel chronic aggression.
   Instead, try to find out what's behind your son's behavior. If he's like most bullies, he suffers from low self-esteem and may see intimidating others as a way of gaining the attention and respect he craves. In some cases, bullying is linked to learning disabilities. Talk to your son's teacher to find out if he has trouble concentrating in class or with reading comprehension. If he does, you may need to have him tested — and then treated — for a possible disability.
   Research shows that children who are quick to show aggression suffer from faulty thinking; they perceive actions by others as threatening when they're not. A bully who is accidentally jostled in a crowded hallway, for example, takes it personally and starts a fight.
   How does this prickliness start? Experts are divided, but they all agree it can be corrected. The catch is intervention needs to start early--by age 8. Any later and the patterns become harder to break. "Intervention is crucial because studies show that young aggressors are more likely to end up with criminal careers than nonbullies," says Leonard Eron, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Over a 22-year period, Eron studied the lives of bullies and found that children who are bullies grow up to have more arrests for drunk driving, spousal abuse, and child abuse.

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