For parents and teachers, bullying can be a worrying, complicated issue to resolve. Child bullying has been known to lead to injury and even death. For many people, one of the biggest questions about child bullying is why it happens in the first place. So why do kids bully one another, and how can you stop it?
Social problems. Many kids can turn to bullying as a way to solve other problems they are having. For children, it is normally easier to bully somebody than it is to work a problem out. At a young age, children are less likely to be able to manage their emotions or to learn how to solve problems the right way. Bullying often becomes a much easier way out, and is not necessarily a conscious decision.
Following an example. Bullying often occurs when a youngster is being bullied by others already or when behavior at home sets an example. Children who live with an abusive parent, for example, may not know any other means of getting their way than being aggressive and demonstrating bullying behaviors. If this is all that a child sees, he or she is unlikely to behave differently.
Gang mentality. Older children may become bullies because of peer pressure. Peer groups attack other kids verbally and emotionally, often because they are confused or uncertain of their own identities, and they feel the need to establish authority. Gang mentality occurs because other children see this behavior and decide that if they do not want to become victims of this themselves, they need to join the bullies.
How to respond. Bullying is a complex problem and needs to be carefully managed by parents. It is worth bearing in mind that bullying seldom occurs as a one-time event, so parents cannot expect resolution to be reached with a single action. Maintaining an open dialogue with your kids is critical, in terms of identifying if your child is being bullied or if your child is a bully. Setting the right example at home, in terms of conduct, is critical. Remember that the smallest of things can be taken by a child as permission to behave in this way.
What to do if your child is bullied. If you believe your child is being bullied, you must take action. Try to address the issue through proper channels. Talk to the school and give the personnel the opportunity to address the problem. In very severe cases, you may consider involving the police, but try to do so with the school's support. Remember that the parents of the bully may well be unreceptive to any contact that you have with them, so think carefully about approaching them or speaking to them in person.
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