Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Do You Stop Bullying?

  Kids have always been mean to one another.  But, today, there are more ways for kids to hurt their peers.  We have facebook, my space, twitter, texting, cell phones, cell phones with cameras, and then there is still verbal and physical bullying.  What makes a kid bully?  Things like jealousy, their own insecurities, putting the attention on others instead of themselves, a need for control, and being a victim of bullying themselves are just a few factors that contribute to the behavior.

     We are always so quick to blame the parents, and in some cases it makes sense to do so, but I believe there are a lot of reasons kids are so unhappy.  Besides the fact that there are so many broken homes and kids are pulled in two different directions, parents aren't around as much as they should be most of the time through no fault of their own.  Both parents have to work in most homes whether they are together or not.  Here are just a few facts.

· In America today, millions of young people are alone and unsupervised in the hours after school, before parents return home from work. This situation places children and teens at grave risk for juvenile crime, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and other problems. It means students are wasting precious time when they could be learning. And it leaves millions of working parents worried about their children when they should be focused on their jobs. This unproductive, untenable and unacceptable situation would be remedied if our nation invested more fully in the after school programs that keep kids safe, support working families, and help young people succeed in school and in life.
· The after school hours are the peak time for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. (Source: Bureau, Urban Institute Estimate, 2000) Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002)
· The parents of more than 28 million school-age children work outside the home. As many as 15 million "latchkey children" go to an empty house on any given afternoon. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Census Bureau, Urban Institute estimate, 2000)
· Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes or use marijuana or other drugs; they are also more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)

     Parents, teachers, and administrators can do their very best but with so much technology it is almost impossible to keep track of behavior and monitor that behavior at all times.  The thing is that these kids are just that, kids.  They aren't capable of comprehending consequences of some of their actions.

Child Development:

"Child development refers to the biological and psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence."

"Developmental change may occur as a result of genetically-controlled processes known as maturation, or as a result of environmental factors and learning, but most commonly involves an interaction between the two. It may also occur as a result of human nature and our ability to learn from our environment. Human beings have a keen sense to adapt to their surroundings and this is what child development encompasses."

     You can click on Child Development and see the stages of development, but the bottom line is kids should be held responsibile for their actions, but sometimes they act when they are not fully mature enough to understand their actions.  Say a child bullies another child, for whatever reason.  Maybe that child is a victim of abuse at home or is just mean and really has no reason.  Either way, he/she is causing harm to another person whether they fully understand it and the consequences.  A child that commits suicide because of bullying is a consequence of the bully's action.  If there is a psychological problem with that child such as a mental disease (bipolar, schizophrenic, etc.) their interpretation may be affected, but if it is a kid just being mean, they are going to at some point in their life realize what they did to another human being. 

     We are the adults and we are supposed to teach and discipline kids so they don't hurt themselves or someone else, but with all the ways of being able to bully today I don't know how you do it.  It is overwhelming for single parents, parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, and other adults supervising kids to stay on top of everything.  You can implement programs, have a zero tolerance bully policy at school, but kids are going to find a way to bully other kids.  It is a real problem and it seems to be getting worse. 

Here are some really good sites that have a lot of information and tips for preventing bullying.



Consequences of Bullying

Effects of Bullying

Bullying Statistics

Signs of Bullying

     I don't know what to do about the problem.  I know in my own home, my kids know that is one thing I will not tolerate.  Thankfully, it is one thing that really bothers them about their peers.  They don't like to see it, but at times don't know what to do for fear of being a victim if they get involved.  At my daughter's former high school they lost a student to suicide.  This was a small, private, Christian school also.  It happens everywhere.  The student had other problems, but he definitely did not fit in.  I won't ever forget the look and the tears on my daughter's face when she got in the car that afternoon and told me what happened.  She said there was so much guilt for the students who had been mean to the student.  He was a victim, his family was a victim, and his friends were victims of being and feeling helpless.  It is a big problem with big consequences.

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