UMUD Podcast on Bullying

I found a good Podcast on bullying for you to listen to. It has some very interesting information and solutions on the subject of bullying. Click the player below to listen.

A Warning to the Bully

Are you a bully? Do you think it would be fun to be a bully? Do you believe that bullying behavior is only part of “kids being kids” and that they will grow out of it? Statistics tell a different story.

According to the “National Crime Prevention Council“, being a bully is shown to be a gateway behavior, giving them the impression and teaching them that threats and aggression are acceptable behaviors, even in adulthood. This website is all about the long-term effects of bullying and that includes people who bully. Here’s what you have to look forward to if you are a bully as a youth:

  • 60% of boys whom researchers classified as bullies in 6-12 grade are convicted of at least one crime by age 24. That’s a majority of these youth.
  • 40% of these same youth had three or more convictions.

This certainly shows that bullying is a long-term life changing event. One thing that’s hard or near impossible to do is to remove a conviction from your record. With that conviction, you will statistically make less money and have fewer good job opportunities. So if you want to bully, that’s what you have to look forward to.

As a society, I don’t see how allowing boys to fight and punch as kids is a helpful concept as they enter into adulthood. We call that assault as an adult and it is a crime. I just gave a presentation where this was a focus of the discussion. For boys in particular, fighting seems on the surface to be the solution to stopping a bully from bothering you. Give them one good punch and they will leave you alone.

But what are we teaching the victim? That physical fighting solves problems? Maybe as a youth, but by doing that we are not modeling behavior we want as adults. I don’t have the answer to this one, since much bullying happens away from adults and many parents feel that not having their child fight back would be more detrimental. I tend to disagree in that we are teaching behaviors we don’t want them to have later. There must be a better way.

In the meantime, if your child is a bully or you are a bully, take a long look at the statistics above and decide what direction you want to take in your life. It is a decision that could affect the rest of it.

University suicide points to workplace bullying

Here’s an interesting story about workplace bullying. This happened close to home for me at the University of Virginia. It’s a sad story of a man with depression who, if the story is correct, committed suicide after dealing with agressive workplace bullying.

The link to the article is below. I would love to hear feedback on your thoughts about workplace bullying, a subject not discussed much on this site.

University suicide points to nonreponsive employer.

Bullies face Felony After Picking on Autistic Boy

Here’s a news story out of Norman, OK. The mother of an autistic 12-year-old boy says three students beat her son, and even put it on YouTube. His mother says:

My son’s afraid to go to school. He can’t sleep at night.

The bullies captured the taunting and bullying on video and shows why the boy is now fearful of his classmates. You can see him in the center of the screen refusing to fight.

Click here to see the News Story

Tweens Help Solve Bullying

NBC Nightly News aired an interview with tween kids in Maryland who work with a program to help solve the problem of bullying. What they have to say and their perspective can help bring light and change to the issue of bullying in schools.

Click here to watch the video

Dealing with Bullying in Teen Years

Mayo Clinic LogoMost of the bullying I dealt with took place during my pre-teen elementary school and tween years. But many kids who suffer with bullying have it take place well into their teen and High School years. This can have a dramatic effect due to all the emotional stress that children go through during their teen years when their bodies and minds are changing more quickly.

An article from The Mayo Clinic, I found in my research on the subject of bullying sheds more light on the differences between pre-teen and teen bullying. The researchers distinguish teen bullying’s common core features as:

  1. The aggression is intentional.
  2. The aggression is repeated.
  3. The aggression thrives on an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the target.

As a result kids who experience this bullying are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In addition, the research shows that teens who are cyber-bullied in particular are more likely to use alcohol and/or drugs, receive school detentions or suspensions, skip school, or be deal with face-to-face bullying. Another factor in the study is that teen bullying is associated with a higher rate of weapon carrying and fighting that leads to injury. While these are not surprising, it does show the damage and potential damage that bullying does.

The research shows some strong differences as well between pre-teen and teen bullying. Unique traits of teen bullying are:

  1. Teens are more reluctant to report bullying to parents or schools
  2. Teens are more reluctant to report cyber-bullying due to policy rules or fear of losing their phone or internet priviledges

Research continues to show, though, that parents can and do influence a child, even during the rebellious teen years. Parents can help prevent teens from being both bullies and victims of bullying. The Mayo Clinic article suggests that parents:

  • Get involved by providing activities and a good home life
  • Monitor internet, phone, and TV use
  • Help teens learn to cope with their feelings by setting and example with your own behavior
  • Meet your teens friends and know who they are hanging out with

Part of the solution is that parents can’t fear talking with their teens about bullying. Communication and open discussions are key. The article suggests the following tactics that teens can  take:

  • Avoid isolation. If you’re in a situation where you think bullying might happen, don’t go it alone. Stick with trusted classmates during the school day. If you’re walking home from school, find someone to go with you.
  • Communicate self-confidence. Walk tall, make eye contact and speak assertively to the bully. Just saying “stop” or walking away from the bully — or deleting offending emails or text messages — may be enough.
  • Nurture positive friendships. Spend time with trusted friends, or reach out to friendly peers. Make new friends through after-school activities, such as music, theater and athletics.
  • Avoid violence. Getting involved in a fight may only lead to more aggression.
  • Report dangerous situations. If you’re being stalked or you’ve been physically attacked by a bully, don’t be afraid to tell a trusted adult.

Finally, if your teen tells you they are being bullied, you can take the following actions after reassuring your child that you will do everything in your power to help. The Mayo Clinic article then goes on to say you can:

  • Record the details. Write down the details — the date, who was involved and what specifically happened. Record the facts as objectively as possible.
  • Meet with school authorities. Start with a teacher who knows your child well. Ask whether your child’s classroom behavior has changed or if there are any other warning signs. You might also consult a school dean, counselor or other school contact.
  • Explain your concerns in a matter-of-fact way. Instead of finding blame, ask for help to solve the bullying problem. Keep notes on these meetings. Remember that it can take time for teachers and administrators to investigate bullying in a fair and factual way.
  • Ask for a copy of the school’s policy on bullying. Find out how bullying is addressed in the school’s curriculum, as well as how staff members are obligated to respond to known or suspected bullying.

I have reprinted much of the article’s content here for you so that you can read and use it. Please also reference the original article at The Mayo Clinic website to see additional information.