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The first thing you need to know about bullying is that it’s serious.
The idea that being bullied is just some kind of rite of passage or a phase that can be brushed aside with statements like “it’s just a part of growing up,” is belied by the facts.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines bullying as “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.”
Just the fact that the federal government has such a definition speaks volumes about how common and serious it is.
Bullying is a damaging behavior. Research shows that:
• There’s a strong link between bullying and suicide
A “study of the studies” done in 2015 showed that “youth involved in bullying in any capacity were more likely to think about and attempt suicide than youth who were not involved in bullying.”
• Cyberbullying is rampant and can be the most harmful
Girls, especially, use online forms of bullying. Smartphones make it possible for them to harass their victims in relative anonymity. And the messages they send can circulate widely in minutes, often with devastating results.
• Sometimes the victims become bullies themselves
This is known as the bully-victim, where a child who has been bullied turns on others. A recent study identified one-third of children who had been bullied or bullied others as bully-victims.
• Bullying can lead to gun violence at school
Buffalo State University reported that 3 out of 10 students who have been bullied brought weapons to school, and bullying has been present in 2 out of 3 school shootings that the US Secret Service has investigated.
• Kids’ performance in school is affected by bullying.
A California study noted that “the students who were rated the most-bullied performed substantially worse academically than their peers.” And, in the US, as many as 100,000 students per year drop out of school because of bullying and as many as 160,000 students per day stay home because of bullying.
Clearly, this is NOT just a problem that kids will “grow out of” or a rite of passage.
It is a serious public health issue.
You must address it! Go to your child’s school administrator. If that doesn’t work, go to law enforcement. If that doesn’t work, go to the local news media and explain that your child’s school and the police refuse to address the problem. The chances are very good that, if your child is being bullied at school, others, possibly many others, are, too.
It may be necessary to move your child or children to a different school. If that is the case, you must teach them to ‘bully-proof” themselves, or the pattern will likely repeat.
Your first resource is our weekly “Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri” advice column, which can be found here. There are dozens of problems, bully-related and otherwise, addressed in our database.
If the problem goes beyond the scope of the column and the advice given in the “Victims” section of this website, you’re welcome to call Rhonda personally at 928-515-9996. She’s taught many girls how to avoid being victims of bullies in her Leadership Academies, and offers more than a sympathetic ear – she can give you or your girl practical, real-world advice.
And ,by the way, Rhonda is also very well aware of adult bullying and has written on that subject as well. If you have a question about it, please call or email her.
Copyright 2017, Rhonda's STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls. No use of material without permission.
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What parents need to know about bullying