How Do You Know If Your Child Is A Bully?

I get asked often, “How do I know if my child is a bully?”. With that said, these questions are usually from parents who are very concerned versus the ones who are told by teachers, counselors and even police that their child is indeed a bully and they are quick to respond, “My kid? No way!”. If you ever wondered what some of the signs of bullying are outside of the direct accusations from others that your child is a bully, then please read on…

First off, just because your child is a bully does not make them a bad person. What they are doing is wrong, but this can readily be corrected with instant and proper interventions put in place. When someone in an authority position, or another parent tells you that your child is a bully, you should best listen and begin collecting information. There are various signs to look for and these are the most common ones which might identify them as being a bully:

1) Their marks suddenly drop and continue to nose dive. They may start to complain that they hate school and “Everyone is out to get them!”.

2) The child complains of being treated poorly by teachers and other children. They believe they are misunderstood and that “No one cares!”.

3) The child might begin committing acts of violence toward a family pet, or other animals, and may become destructive toward property, even their own possessions.

4) The child creates and seeks out conflicts that lead to violence with their siblings, their parents and their friends.

5) The child is often found hanging around other kids and teens, and/or chooses friends who engage in and endorse violence.

FYI, bullying has to be stopped at a young age in children as most bullies are on a trajectory for increases in abuse or violence later in life. Research and statistics show unless corrected, bullies will accept and believe that violence is the best way to resolve their problems and conflicts.

As bullies age into their teen years, they are more likely to become delinquents and even members of gangs. Research shows that they are more likely to use/abuse alcohol and drugs when they are older. In some cases they drink or drug to medicate to mask their shame and remorse. Did you know that it is estimated that more than 160,000 children miss school everyday due to a fear of being bullied?

If you think your child might be a bully, or someone has told you that they are, you are their best lifeline for promoting positive change. Act now!

What Is Bullying?

With the release of my new kid’s book, If I Was A Bird…What Kind Of Flock Would I Fly With?, I have been receiving a barrage of media requests and Q&A’s asking me about bullying as it pertains to children. Since the book is about cultural/religious/gender diversity and sensitivity/acceptance for kids, many inquiring minds want to know, “What exactly constitutes bullying in schools or social gatherings that involve children?”

At first blush, most people probably have some idea(s) for what bullying is, or what it encompasses. With the number of media campaigns and ads on TV, or discussions in communities and Internet forums, it can quickly become “grey” in terms of what is borderline bullying versus roughhouse play, or isolated incidents. When I address this question of, “What is bullying, or what is it that someone has to do to make them a bully?”, I break it down into four key elements which ascertain that something is indeed bullying. The four elements are:

1) The bullying incidents or abuse is repeated over time. It is not a onetime event, rather a series of incidents whereby someone is bullied.

2) The event involves a victim being distressed by the abuse. Whenever someone displays visual or verbal signs that they are feeling hurt and the bully continues to engage in this behaviour because they derive a sense of satisfaction from it, then it is bullying.

3) There is always an imbalance of power in that one of the kids is more powerful than the other. Often times it is physical strength which creates the imbalance, however it can also be intellectual, or the ability to use verbal skills more powerfully than the victim which plays to an audience.

4) There is an intent to harm by the bully. They knowingly and maliciously decide to attack another child who is helpless and unable to defend against the attack. For all intents, it is premeditated on the bully’s part!

Some might be quick to dismiss “one event” as being an isolated incident, that may be so. With that said, put yourself in the victim’s shoes and see how you would feel if you were attacked just one time. You may not have been attacked by a bully, but I bet you felt like you were bullied!

To learn more about bullying and, If I Was A Bird…What Kind Of Flock Would I Fly With?, please visit: www.bullyingisforthebirds.com. Also, be sure to sign up and receive the new kids book, Bullying Is For The Birds which is immediately downloadable!

Is Bullying Such A New Phenomenon?

So much is made about bullying in the media over the last few years that you would swear that it is some new “disease” that has sprung forth from the bowels of humanity. That is not the case at all! Bullying is definitely a disease in the sense that it seems to be contagious whereby some victims of bullying, or witnessing it too often become the next generation of bullies. Furthermore, it is a “disease” because victims of bullying are always at dis-ease!

Did you know that research into bullying began in the 1960’s? Bullying is a form of aggression in which there is an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim. The bully is always more powerful than the victim! Bullying can be physical, verbal, sexual and emotional/psychological in action. Bullying can occur one of two ways: It can be either direct (face to face with the individual) or indirect (when the person isn’t there). Indirect bullying would include gossip, slander, back-biting and purposeful exclusion from a group’s involvement, which often happens in schools. Today’s generation of bullies are becoming more proficient in indirect bullying as so many are using the Internet via Facebook, Twitter or text messages to attack victims.

Physical bullying is the most visible and appears to be the most common “type” people try to point out. These are physical attacks on the victim which includes incidences from poking to punching to strangling and even stabbing someone.

Some say that words have the ability to damage more! Verbal bullying acted out through the use of words which damage someone physically, mentally or emotionally. Did you know that the average child receives 213 “putdown comments” per week! Do the math folks, that is over 30 put down remarks a day! Talk about damaging to one’s self-esteem.

There is also psychological/emotional bullying. Like verbal bullying, this cuts deep, perhaps deeper! This type of bullying involves the systematic diminishment of another individual. It can leave profound, damaging scars. These behaviors would include ignoring, isolating, rejecting or terrorizing another person.

Finally, there is sexual bullying. This pretty much speaks for itself in that the bully carries out an act of a “sexual” misconduct, or sexually-related in nature. This type of bullying can be either aggressive or exploitive in nature. Moreover, an actual “sexual assault/rape” does not have to be committed for it to be sexual bullying. Did you know that displaying sexually explicit material which makes others feel uncomfortable, slander/derogatory name calling, or pulling down someone’s pants as a joke, or giving wedgies is considered sexual bullying? It may be fun for the actor or the audience, but not for the victim!

Bullying did not start overnight, it has been around for a long time! What is more recent is the identification of the variety of bullying types, as well as how bullying continues to evolve and become more technological in nature!