Family members (parents, siblings, grandparents), and close friends play a key role in facilitating the prevention of bullying. They also provide children and other youth with coping skills needed to minimize the severity of a bullying experience.
Bullying can take many forms, such as: violence (hitting or punching) teasing, name calling, intimidation through gestures or facial expressions, social exclusion and sending insulting messages or pictures by mobile phone or the internet (cyberbullying).
General advice for parents is to follow these steps:
- Brush up on the modern forms of bullying that your child may be subjected to at school, on the playground and other places in the community.
- Use strategies to try to prevent bullying and help children deal with bullying experiences.
- Go to your local library or search online for useful materials that you can use to assist children in your family, school and community.
Bullying: A Serious Problem For Kids
A common misconception is that bullying is just part of growing up and an unavoidable rite of passage that all school age children go through. This is simply not the case. Bullying is different from fighting or teasing. It is repetitive, negative actions by one or more individuals against chosen targets. It is commonly a precursor for violent and antisocial behavior and, with the advent of the internet and cyberspace, cyberbullying has become one of the most damaging activities in and out of schoolyards today.
When compared to other problems facing today's school children, we oftentimes think that bullying is the lessor of evils. However, bullying is a serious problem for kids and families. It can be teasing at bus stops, taking another child's lunch money, insults and threats, pushing and shoving as well as social exclusion. Fears about bullies can cause some children to avoid school, carry a weapon for protection, commit violence against other children or even commit suicide.
One in four children will be bullied in school today and another one in four will have a criminal record by the time they are 30 years old. Bullies, especially male bullies, are at a high risk for negative long-term outcomes unless the bullying is stopped at a young age. Consequently, bullying prevention programs have a long-term benefit for both bullies and victims. Bullying prevention is a highly researched and well-proven area of violence prevention.