Learning how to stop bullying in school begins with the recognition that it exists, that it is not just ‘what kids do’, and that there are ways to stop bullying. During an interview with Peggy Moss, a nationally known expert on bullying and a tireless advocate for the prevention of hate violence it was noted that “The injury is real when kids get teased -- unchecked, it can be devastating.” (1) Childhood is supposed to be the most carefree time in one’s life. And the school years are when kids and teens are learning, evolving and growing; it’s the foundation upon which their adulthood will be built. And yet, there are children who hate being children; they dread going to school; and they hate interacting with their peers. These are usually children who are being bullied in school or in the neighborhood. Instead of waking up every morning filled with wonder at all that the world and life has to offer, these children don’t even want to get out of bed, let alone meet their peers at school or in their neighborhood. They tend to withdraw into a shell and build barriers around themselves as an insulation against the emotional trauma they experience when they are bullied. Unfortunately,most children who are bullied don’t realize that there are ways to stop bullying. They are usually too traumatized or embarrassed to confide in an adult, and worried about the consequences if the bully thinks they’ve ‘snitched’. Under these circumstances, it’s important for parents or teachers to observe if a child’s behaviour is changing; if the child seems more withdrawn; and if the child is avoiding school or play time with other children. Parents need to become proactive if they find their child is resistant to meeting a counselor. They need to bolster the child’s morale and help him or her to protest against bullying. Unfortunately, every parent doesn't have the requisite skills to deal with the situation. But they do have access to information and tools that can help them cope with and counsel their child. There are books, DVD’s and games to confront and overcome bullying and other child and teen issues -- both here on Childswork and Courage to Change -- that provide specific guidelines and information that help parents, teachers, counselors and victims cope with bullying -- and other life situations through workbooks, activities and strategies. Using these resources in time can make a big difference in a child’s life. Given the right guidance and support systems [to help them cope] can ensure a child is equipped to deal with unpleasant situations on a daily basis, which will not only help them in their formative years, but also later in life (bullies come in all age groups, even at work). Knowing how to handle the ‘proverbial neighborhood bully’ bolsters the child’s confidence, and gives him or her the strength to stand up to the bully without fear of the consequences. More often than not, the classic ‘bully’ is usually just full of bluff and bluster. They are quick to identify other children who they sense will succumb to bullying, and adopt an aggressive stance with them. The ‘victims’ are often children who are mild natured, receptive to authority and easy to control. Hence, the bully rides roughshod over children who just don’t have the guts to fight back. Until, as they say, the ‘worm turns’. The typical bully usually backs down the minute the victim has the confidence to stand up to them -- and the essential social skills to pull it off. Bullies are often unable to deal with resistance when presented in a strategic and well-thought way. The victim many times discovers a new-found respect from not only the bully, but onlookers as well. When bullies are confronted the victim -- and onlooking potential victims -- find a more harmonious environment for both to grow up in. Parents have fundamental job not only to help their kids and teens fend off bullying, but also to be aware that their children are being bullied in the first place. To learn more about bully prevention, access our bully prevention materials to ensure your child is not at risk. These include: 101-Bully Prevention Activities Book with CD $49.95 Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain - Laugh and Learn Book $9.95 (1) My Child is Being Bullied—What Should I Do? by Elizabeth Wilkins, Editor of Empowering Parents.com 1500+ Print on Demand Forms; updated regularly
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