First, let’s talk about what bullying means. The CDC defines bullying accordingly–“The current definition acknowledges two modes and four types by which youth can be bullied or can bully others. The two modes of bullying include direct (e.g., bullying that occurs in the presence of a targeted youth) and indirect (e.g., bullying not directly communicated to a targeted youth such as spreading rumors). In addition to these two modes, the four types of bullying include broad categories of physical, verbal, relational (e.g., efforts to harm the reputation or relationships of the targeted youth), and damage to property.”
“..cyberbullying involves primarily verbal aggression (e.g., threatening or harassing electronic communications) and relational aggression (e.g., spreading rumors electronically). Electronic bullying or cyberbullying can also involve property damage resulting from electronic attacks that lead to the modification, dissemination, damage, or destruction of a youth’s privately stored electronic information.
Some bullying actions can fall into criminal categories, such as harassment, hazing, or assault.”1
How common is bullying?
The CDC reports the following statistics–
28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 experienced bullying.
20% of all U.S students in grades 9-12 experienced harassment.
As you can see, that’s many children affected by bullying. Bullying has many adverse effects on a child. It can cause their self-esteem to suffer. It contributes to feelings of sadness and anger that sometimes to depression or anxiety. It also carries shame. Children who are bullied tend to avoid the places where the bully or bullying occurs. Most often this negative behavior happens in school.
To prevent bullying, a parent should talk openly about it. Help your child to understand that bullying is unacceptable and that they should feel free to discuss any incidents with you.
If a child is being bullied at home, it puts them at risk for becoming a bully or being victimized. Be mindful of the language and relationships at home. Model appropriate behavior and language.
Help your children to discuss their positive traits. A child with low self-esteem is vulnerable to bullying behavior. Get them involved in activities where they can enhance their skills and learn new ones.
Be an advocate for your child. If the bullying is occurring at school, make the administration aware. Do not stop until it improves. Each state has laws on bullying behavior.
Be aware that being victimized can cause a person to feel isolated. There have been many stories of children who have committed suicide as a result of being bullied. Letting your child know you believe them and that you’ll do everything in your power to stop the bullying will give them hope.
At The Center for Child Development, we help children who bully and those who are victims of bullying. If your child is struggling, we can help with therapy. We can provide counseling for your child in the office or school. Our number is 302-292-1334 x101. No one deserves to suffer!
1 Gladden, R. M., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Hamburger, M. E., & Lumpkin, C. D. (2014). Bullying surveillance among youths: Uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements, Version 1.0. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Department of Education.