Bullying in schools is pushing its way around again. Studies show girls bully emotionally and boys bully physically and emotionally. When bullying respects nothing and no one, and the parents won’t do anything about it. — BadWitch
Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — I’m at my wits end! My daughter is getting bullied at school by another girl. This has been going on for months. Now, my daughter’s backpack was stolen last week, but the school library books from the backpack returned! WTF?! I’ve tried talking to this girl’s parents, but they refuse to believe their “little angel” would do anything wrong. They think my daughter provokes the abuse! Again, WTF?! What can I do? This is an impossible situation for our whole family and, of course, most especially, my daughter. — Over This Bully Bullsh–
Dear Over This Bully Bullsh–,
It sounds like you need to get the school involved—teachers , principal. I know a lot of times kids who are being bullied are unwilling for their parents to get involved, but getting this out in the open is the only way to get this to stop. The bully needs to know there are consequences for her actions.
Now, as far as the girl’s parents protecting their “little angel,” remember bullies are made, not born. Something is clearly troubling this girl to leave her over-flowing with aggression. I’m not saying this to blame or excuse the parents. It sounds like it is time to have a hard-nosed talk with her parents. If you really believe this girl is responsible or the missing backpack, have her parents check her room. No one deserves to have their personal belongings stolen. No one deserves abuse. If they still don’t get it, go through the school.
Remind your daughter to go through the appropriate channels when the bullying starts. Trying to handle it her self simply isn’t working. Also, both you and your daughter should do some self-esteem and stress management training. Work with her to give her the tools she needs to grow into a confident woman. Remind her that tomorrow may hold an entirely different future. Don’t let her get stuck here, seeing herself as a victim. Give her the tools to rise above it.
My heart and my prayers go out to your family. Constantly dealing with someone else’s misplaced aggression is frustrating, depressing and maddening. You need to remember and remind your daughter that petty tyrants are our best teachers. Help your daughter define how she contributes to the situation. Does she retaliate instead of seeking assistance from a teacher? Does she refuse to stand up for herself, protecting her rights? Changing our behavior has the effect of changing a dynamic and with it people’s reactions. Remind her that bullies target those who they will get a satisfying reaction from–once achieved they continue to bully to get more of that reaction. If your daughter stops reacting or changes tactics by telling a teacher, there is a good chance the bully will move on to another target.
Talk to your principal. What strategies do they have in place to deal with bullies? Research and connect them with groups that do bully workshops. Get other parents involved and educate the educators if need be. Be proactive.
Sending you waves of support,
Dear Over Bully Bullsh–,
What right thinking person would disagree that our schools, not just should, but need to be a safe haven for children against bullying? When today’s bullies come in all shapes, sizes and social ranking, but often teachers and schools are still opting for the elaborate Time Out (and resulting in yet more bullying to suicide), it’s way past time to step up our tools. I’m not usually a fan of attempts at legislating how people get along, but the apparent lack of good parenting, and schools’ tied hands, against this well-noted rise in school aggression, anger and bullying, seem to call for it. This national epidemic is in need of Congressional legislation to help in providing teachers and schools training, proactive peer counseling/motivation techniques and supportive rules and laws against violence and bullying. Hey, if it takes laws to get the job done, perhaps our larger society’s PC-silence, violence enabling and anti-violence laws will toughen up to reflect this disturbing and growing trend of child disrespect, coarseness, and bullying-as-conflict-resolution (learned and perpetuated by their own slack online-social mores, violent video games and movies, and a seeming lack of adult guidance to civility and cooperation).
Closer to home, what can you do to help and support your daughter, and foster in her trust and openness in relationships, rather than cynicism and negativity and — stop bullying now ? Try eating dinner together as a family. Limit TV daily viewing (studies show each additional hour spent in front of the TV per week at age 2-1/2 corresponded to a 10% increase in being bullied by peers; the finding suggests these kids are “learning to be just a passive receptacle”), and stick to it! My mom didn’t let us go out and play until our homework was done; adapt this to your schedule but the rule is: “Responsibilities first.” Encourage cooperation between your own children and their friends, e.g., homework to sharing and giving away (charity) toys and even TV time — then don’t forget to recognize and applaud their constructive activity, e.g., “Good job – I appreciate your helping your brother without my asking you to.” Help them build habits of cooperation, civility and connection that will serve them well on and off the schoolyard, and into adolescence and adult citizens of our society at large.
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