Friday, February 6, 2009

How to help with Bullying

Most adults try to help a bullied child by trying to explain why they are being bullied by the other kid. Understanding why you are being tortured rarely will make it easier to tolerate! Bullied kids don't care why, and may actuallly become angry at the suggestion that they have a reason. Bullied kids want the torture to stop, plain and simple. They came to you for help. The last thing they need is platitudes, and empty words about "I know how you feel". NO YOU DON'T! Unless you have been victimized by bullies, you can't possible know how they feel. Do you know what it is like to go to place for 8 hours a day and walk down a hall filled with kids whose only joy it seems is making you the brunt of their jokes? There is no safe place. There is no help that you can see. A well meaning teacher may send the bully to the office for discipline. What happens after? Worse things, bad things, payback for getting them in trouble. Besides, sending a bully to the office in front of a crowd of kids elevates them higher in the school's social status. The cool kids will rarely seek out one of the victims. Usually, they will all gang up on the kid being bullied in order to gain status. But that kid being bullied, may be the kid who ends his life himself. The kid that is being bullied may be the one who brings a gun to school. Angry kids do stupid things. Being terrorized every day and knowing you have to go back there again and again may be more than they can handle. A suicide is alwasy telegraphed, but if there is no one to see the messages, a child may die. Telling guys to get tough and fight back, or girls to jusy ignore it are not solutions. These kids need action, NOW!
Remember to talk to your kids about the social network at their school. Ask them who the outcasts are and why. Try to get them to see how things may be from someone elses perspective. Maybe thos jokes aren't that funny after all. Maybe their just mean.

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