Bullying has been a part of recess, the playground and school hallways since well forever, unfortunately with the addition of social networking sites and fancy phones,technology has added new platforms for it. The first step in stopping it is identifying the different kinds. There is physical (hitting, kicking or pushing someone), verbal (name-calling, teasing, insulting) and relationship bullying (refusing to talk to someone, spreading rumors, making someone feel left out) which usually occurs among so-called girl friends.
School Counselor Renee Halde says, "I think there is a fine line between normal friendship conflicts and that exclusion of someone for the soul purpose to hurt them."
Avera McKennan Behavioral Outpatient Therapist Laura Schuldt and JFK Elementary School Counselor Renee Halde work together to stop the cycle of bullying. Schuldt says no matter what form it comes in it can make lead to feelings of depression, pain, and isolation. She's counseled both bully and those bullied and says both have underlying layers of insecurity.
Therapist Schuldt says, "One thing is to look at how does the child feel about themselves and start to build up those positives. Also get the child connected with activities that can help them feel good. Groups that are positive like girl scouts or boy scouts, youth groups, sports clubs. Help them feel like they belong."
The bystander in bullying situations not only makes up the biggest population, but they can have the biggest impact.
School Counselor Halde says, "Leading up to an event they are a powerful group to step in and say knock it off, that's not cool or take the victim and say let's leave to kind of help them react in a positive way and give them the support but if physical aggression is involved get an adult."
Both experts say the victim, as hard as it is, should try not to react too much to the bully because it only empowers them. Even so their parents have to be supportive and acknowledge that their bullied child is in pain and to let them express their emotions. If they suppress those feelings it could open the door to something even worse. Talk to your kids.
The NEA (National Education Association) estimates that 160,000 kids miss school each day because of bullying. It's another sign parents should look for if your child all of a sudden has a stomach ache and doesn't want to go to school they could be the victim of bullying.