Bullying: Helping Kids Develop Emotional Strength - Dr. Charles Fay
How is Bullying Defined (Bullying Surveillance Among Youth, Page 17)
Bullying, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education, is unwanted aggressive behavior, observed or perceived power imbalance, and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition.
Statistics on Bullying (stopbullying.gov)
While statistics on bullying may vary, the general consensus is that approximately 28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 and 20% of U.S. students in grades 9-12 experience bullying.
Even more alarming is 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools while 70.4% of school staff has seen bullying. Approximately 62% of school staff has witnessed bullying more than once within the last month while 41% say they witness bullying once a week.
Bullying hurts. It hurts our kids, and we hurt for them. We want it to stop right now. We wish we could rid the world of such hateful behavior.
What’s realistic? Is it to spend the lion’s share of our time and energy trying to create a completely bullying-free world? Might our time and other resources create a bigger impact if applied to help kids develop the skills and emotional strength required to cope with bullying?
Bullying typically occurs wherever kids gather. This includes schools, school buses, community events and ever increasingly online. One study on bullying states the various places middle schools students experience bullying: classroom (29.3%); hallway or lockers (29%); cafeteria (23.4%); gym or PE (19.5%); bathroom (12.2%); playground or recess (6.2%).
The Love and Logic Approach
What would happen if more young people knew how to peacefully strip bullies of their unhealthy power? How do we move in this direction when the kids we know and love get bullied?
Love and Logic teaches the following:
- Listen with sincere empathy
- Get the bullied child’s perspective on solutions
- Adults resist the urge to own the bullying
- Ask permission to share some solutions with the child
- If allowed, share some sensible experiments with the child
Who Does Bullying Affect (stopbullying.gov)
Bullying affects not only the person that is being bullied it also affects those who bully and those who witness bullying. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, health complaints and decreased academic achievement. Those that bully are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, get into fights and have criminal convictions as adults. Witnesses to bullying are more likely to have increased use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, increased mental health problems and miss or skip school.
Kids who are Strong Enough to Handle a Tough World
It all comes down to recognizing that we cannot create a stress- and conflict-free world for our children. No matter how much we protect them, they will eventually face a world full of difficult, even dangerous, people… a world where rescue is not always possible.
Below is a list of Love and Logic resources to give you, as a parent or educator, hope while providing your child the ability to overcome bullying.
Bullying: When Your Child is the Target – Charles Fay, Ph.D.
Tips for Helping Kids Deal with Bullying – Infographic
No Thanks, I Just Had a Banana! – Sally Ogden
Words Will NEVER Hurt Me – Sally Ogden
If they push your button, don’t let it ring your bell! – Sally Ogden