Bully Solutions

Menstuff® has information on solutions around bullying.

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The Bullying Experiment
Upstanders team

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How not to raise a bully


Bullying has gotten a lot of buzz lately, which is no wonder, as nearly one in three students report that they’ve been faced with the problem at school, according to StopBullying.org, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s anti-bullying website. Add to it the steady stream of headlines pointing to a tee suicide or school shooting linked to relentless bullying and it’s clear that something has to give.

So what can we as parents do to try and keep our kids from becoming bullies? Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician and author of books including “Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men,” sketched out five ways to cultivate kind kids, not bullies.

1: Be a do-gooder.

From an early age, teach your kids how to be considerate of other people and model that charitable spirit in front of them. “When you bring a housebound neighbor a meal, bring your kids with you,” Meeker suggested. “During the holidays, make volunteering an activity the entire family does together. When parents actively involve children in projects that involve helping others, children learn how to be compassionate from an early age.”

2: Model humility.

In short, your goal should be to teach your kids that all men, women and children have equal value as humans. “Humility doesn’t mean behaving like a doormat or having low self-esteem,” she said. “On the contrary, it means understanding that we’re not more important that others and that they are no more important than we are.”

3: Dial down the competition.

If you teach your kids to compete with their friends and peers or push your kids to outshine other kids, you’re the one who is ultimately responsible should they begin acting like a bully. “As we know, parents can become more aggressive than their kids, putting down their children’s friends, teammates and competitors in sports, and this teaches kids that their desires are more important than anyone else’s,” Meeker explained. “By being pushed to outshine others, kids do whatever they can to make themselves look better, which often leads to bullying behavior.”

4: If you see bullying in action, handle it.

If your child is already behaving like a bully, nip it in the bud. “Most parents see their children through rose-colored glasses and fail to see bad behavior because they feel that if their kids misbehave, they’re bad parents,” she said. “This isn’t true, but parents must first and foremost see their kids as realistically as possible.”

5: Trace back to the roots of all bullying.

What we know about bullying is that it tends to stem either from a low self-esteem or a sense of entitlement. “Address this with your child and ask why he’s hurting others through either his speech or behavior,” Meeker said. “If entitlement is the issue, then you need to work with your child to help him understand that nothing comes to people without effort.”
Source: www.yahoo.com/parenting/how-not-to-raise-a-bully-99347553252.html

How Empowering Bystanders Can Prevent Bullying


Most of the time, bullying occurs while other kids are present. Yet, the most common reaction for bystanders is to keep silent and do nothing. While there are a variety of reasons for this inaction, most of the times kids simply don’t know what to do.

As a result, many bystanders will suffer from feelings of guilt. But, empowering them to respond can alleviate these feelings. It also dramatically improves a school’s environment and helps prevent bullying.

Why is it important to empower bystanders?

Bullying almost never happens when adults are watching. But it does happen frequently in front of peers. Many kids, though, don’t do anything to stop the bullying. What they don’t realize is when they see bullying and do nothing, then they are unknowingly giving their support to the bully.

The key then is to get these bystanders to demonstrate that bullying is not acceptable and it’s not cool. If a bully’s audience or peers show disapproval, then the bully will be discouraged from continuing.

How can parents and teachers empower bystanders?

When a child witnesses a bullying incident, it’s often easier just to look the other way and not step in. Sometimes kids are afraid of becoming a target themselves. Other times, it’s simply because they don’t know what to do.

Remember, standing up to a bully is not easy. So you need to be patient with kids when they don’t say anything or fail to report an incident. Instead of focusing on what they didn’t do, encourage them on how to handle future situations.

Ultimately, you want to teach kids that they can be a potent force in communicating not only that bullying is wrong. They also can demonstrate that bullying won’t make someone popular. Here are some ideas on how parents and teachers can empower kids to report bullying.

Acknowledge that it might be easier to stand by or to ignore the bullying, but emphasize that sometimes we need to step in and help others overcome bullying.

Educate kids about the importance of speaking out against injustices.

Help them see that their silence helps the bully gain more power over the target.

Provide kids with some perspective by asking how they want kids to respond if they are being bullied. Ask them how they would feel if people watched but said nothing.

Help kids formulate ideas on how to respond to bullying situations. You may have to provide ideas on what they can do to help. For instance, should they say something? Should they get help from an adult?

Mention that distracting a bully or speaking out against bullying can be effective but discourage them from intervening physically.

Let them know that it is courageous to report bullying and that it’s not considered tattling.

Encourage kids to support people who are being bullied. Sometimes the best way to get involved is to be a friend. This might mean walking with them to class, sitting with them at lunch or inviting them to social activities.

What can teachers do to empower bystanders in their classrooms?

When it comes to empowering bystanders, simply telling students to “tell an adult” is not enough. They need ideas on how to handle a variety of situations. Sometimes bystanders don’t come forward because they don’t have the confidence that adults will respond. In some environments, kids feel like reporting the problem will only make it worse rather than better.

Therefore at school, a good anti-bullying policy must be in place before bystanders can be expected to report a bullying situation. If your school doesn’t have an anti-bullying policy, then develop one for your classroom. It’s important for all kids to know that bullying behavior is unacceptable. Once you have a policy in place, here are some ways to empower bystanders in your classroom.

Send the message that bullying is a serious matter and will not be tolerated.

Be sure everyone is aware of the specific disciplinary measures for bullying.

Provide kids with the names of teachers and staff that they can talk to about the bullying they witness in case you are not available.

Have your class perform a skit involving bullying. This activity will help them learn to recognize bullying and see some positive ways to respond.

Start a conversation after the skit to allow kids to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Help students find ways to reach out to targets of bullying and isolated peers. Sometimes having just one friend can keep a target from feeling alone.

Assure students that reporting bullying is safe and that their names will be protected.

Give them the option of speaking about the bullying in general terms without mentioning names. For example, when they report bullying it might be easier to make general statements like, “You might want to watch what happens in the main hall after school.”

Be approachable when it comes to bullying. Kids tend to form strong relationships with their teachers. As a result, you are the person they will feel most comfortable talking with. Going to the principal or a counselor may feel too extreme when they only witness the bullying and don’t actually experience it.

Be available and open to conversations about bullying and don’t confuse “reporting” with “tattling.”

Watch your tone and your attitude when a child reports bullying. Avoid being condescending or acting annoyed. You want kids to have confidence that you will handle the situation.

Use encouraging statements when a bystander reports bullying. Say something like, “Thanks for telling me. It took a lot of courage to talk to me about this. I will make sure the situation is addressed.”

Respond to bullying quickly and consistently when it is reported. Never ignore bullying and don’t expect kids to “work it out.”

Keep the bystander’s name out of the discussion when talking with the bully. You need to protect your bystanders from possible retaliation by the bully. If you don’t protect your bystanders, no one will feel safe in reporting bullying behavior.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/How-Empowering-Bystanders-Can-Prevent-Bullying.htm?utm_source=cn_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Health%20Channel%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=healthsl&utm_content=20141014

Bullying in the Early Teen Years - What You Need to Know


When you think about the typical bully, it's easy to imagine a loner or a mean kid who uses physical force, makes threats or calls people names to get his way. Although this picture is accurate, it's also incomplete, especially in the early teen years.

In fact, research shows that sometimes the most popular and influential kids bully others. At this age, bullying is a form of social power. Kids in their early teens bully to protect their status or reputation by taking advantage of the social vulnerabilities of others.

Trends in Middle School and Early Teen Bullying

Although bullying can start as early as preschool, by the time kids reach middle school, it has often become an accepted part of school. In fact, bullying increases around fifth and sixth grade and continues to get worse until around ninth grade.

Bullying occurs more often in the middle school and early teen years because kids are transitioning from being a child to an adolescent. They have a strong desire to be accepted, to make friends and to be part of a group. As a result, they experience peer pressure to look and act like their peers.

This desire for acceptance leads to bullying because kids are intensely aware of what it takes to fit in. As a result, they easily spot others who don’t fit the accepted norm and focus on that. Kids bully others who look, act, talk or dress differently.

Bullying also is a way to fit into a group or with the cool crowd. Kids who aren't popular or don't have a high social status may bully others as a way to gain power, to direct bullying toward others, or to counter bullying that is directed towards them.

As a result, nearly 30% of kids in grades six to 10 in the United States are estimated to experience bullying either as a victim, a bully or both. But this figure may not reflect the complete picture. Researchers have found that about half of all bullying incidents go unreported.

Effects of Middle School and Early Teen Bullying

Bullying victims often suffer academically. Their grades may drop and they may miss school with health problems like headaches, stomachaches and difficulty sleeping. When bullying occurs over a long period of time, this leads to lowered self-esteem, anxiety, depression, loneliness and even suicidal thoughts. What’s more, depression and self-esteem issues often last into adulthood.

Meanwhile, kids who witness bullying struggle with anxiety and may fear that they will become the next target. They also feel guilty for not stepping in and helping the person being targeted. As a result, these feelings distract them from schoolwork and lead to poor academic performance.

Even bullies are affected. They are more likely to display antisocial behavior and violence later in life. They also are prone to alcohol and drug abuse. And research shows that bullies are more likely to commit criminal acts.

In fact, research shows that bullies are four times more likely than non-bullies to be convicted of crimes by age 24. And, 60% of bullies will have at least one criminal conviction in their lifetime.

Solutions for Middle School and Early Teen Bullying

When it comes to addressing bullying, parents, teachers and community leaders must think long-term. Short-term solutions like punishment, conflict resolution and counseling alone will not solve the problem.

Instead, educators must establish school conditions that limit bullying and give students adequate means for reporting bullying. Prevention programs are the best place to start.

When bullying does occur, schools need to respond quickly, consistently and firmly. The idea is to deter bullying by having steep consequences for the behavior. Students will continue to bully others if nothing significant happens. Additionally, bullying escalates over time if it’s not addressed.

Meanwhile, parents of bullies need to focus on spending quality time with their children. They also must set firm limits, institute consequences and support school discipline when bullying occurs.

And parents of bullying victims should help their children report incidents and ensure that the issue is resolved. Counseling also might be needed to help the victim regain self-confidence.

Children cannot handle bullying on their own. They need help from school staff, their parents and sometimes even the community.

Source: http://bullying.about.com/od/Age-By-Age/a/Bullying-In-The-Early-Teen-Years-What-You-Need-To-Know.htm

Bullying or Unkind Behavior? How to Know the Difference


When it comes to bullying, no one would disagree that bullying behavior is unkind. But, did you know that not every unkind behavior is bullying?

In fact, kids, especially young kids, are still learning how emotions work and how people get along with others. They need parents, teachers and other adults to show them how to be kinder, how to resolve conflicts, how to be inclusive and how to grow into responsible adults. Immediately labeling them a bully doesn’t help them grow and learn.

Remember there will be times when kids will do or say something that is hurtful. Although being unkind should never be ignored, be careful not to lump all inappropriate behavior into bullying. Instead, try to distinguish between hurtful or unkind behavior and bullying behavior.

Expressing Negative Thoughts and Feelings

Kids, especially elementary school children, often are very open and honest with their thoughts and feelings. And although it may be uncomfortable for another child to hear what another person thinks, it is not always bullying to share thoughts and feelings.

For example, young children often speak the truth without even thinking about the consequences. They might make a one-time comment about someone’s hair being messy or ask why a person’s teeth stick out. Or, they might make an uncensored observation like “Wow, your mom is fat.”

While these are unkind remarks, they usually come from a place of innocence and should not be labeled immediately as bullying. Instead, the kids who make these types of remarks need an adult to tell them what is appropriate and what isn’t. The adult might also give them some ideas on how to phrase things in a way that it won’t offend other people.

It’s also important for children on the receiving end of an unkind remark to learn how to communicate their feelings with the offending child. For instance, it is healthy to say “I felt hurt when you laughed at my new braces” or “I don’t like it when you call my mom fat.”

Remember, it is natural for kids to be close friends with certain people and want to spend time with them. Although children should be friendly and kind toward everyone, it’s unrealistic to expect them to be close friends with every child they know.

It’s also normal that a child won’t be invited to every function or event. There will be times when they are left off the guest list for birthday parties, outings and play dates. This is not the same thing as ostracizing behavior.

When your children are the ones feeling left out, remind them that sometimes they too have to choose not include every one. Being left out is not bullying. Only when someone is ostracized or deliberately excluded, does being left out become bullying.

Experiencing Conflict

It’s a known fact that kids will bicker and fight. In fact, conflict is a very normal part of growing up. The key is that children learn how to solve their problems peacefully and respectfully.

A fight or a disagreement does not represent bullying – even when unkind things are said. Remember, bullying is about a lack of power. A spat or disagreement here and there is not bullying.

Teasing

Most kids have been teased by a friend or a sibling in a playful, friendly or mutual way. They both laugh and no one’s feelings get hurt. Teasing is not bullying as long as both kids find it funny. But when teasing becomes cruel, unkind and repetitive, it crosses the line into bullying.

Joking and teasing becomes bullying when there is a conscious decision to hurt another person. For instance, making demeaning comments, name-calling, spreading rumors and making threats all constitute bullying.

Not Playing Fair

All kids, at one point or another, will want to play a game according to their “rules.” To their friends, they may even appear “bossy.” Although playing with someone like this can be unpleasant, it is important to remember that kids are still learning how to play fair.

Instead, they need an adult to help them learn how to take turns and how to cooperate with others. If your children have bossy friends, teach them how to respond to the bossy behavior. For example, your child could say: “Let’s play your way, the first time. Then, let’s try my way.”

Remember, wanting games to be played a certain way is not bullying. Only when a child begins to consistently threaten other kids or physically hurt them when things don’t go his way does it start to become bullying.

Learning to be kind to other kids is a process. But with guidance kids can get rid of inappropriate and unkind behaviors and learn how to interact with others around them without wearing the label of bully.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Basics/a/Bullying-Or-Unkind-Behavior-How-To-Know-The-Difference.htm

10 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Bullying


There’s nothing worse than discovering your tween or teen has been targeted by a bully. As a parent, you may experience an entire range of emotions including anger, fear, pain, confusion and maybe even embarrassment. But regardless of what you are feeling, overcoming bullying requires immediate action on your part.

Bullying is not something that goes away on its own and it’s not something kids can just “work out.” Even if you are not sure if your child is being bullied, your participation in the situation is crucial to a positive outcome.

Here are 10 steps you can take to help your child overcome bullying.

1. Create an environment where your tween or teen feels safe talking to you.

Make sure your teen or tween feels comfortable sharing with you. Avoid having an emotional reaction and don’t shame your child for being bullied. Instead, ask questions in a calm manner gathering as many details as you can. Applaud your tween or teen’s courage in telling you about the incident. This not only encourages future disclosures, but also helps build a stronger relationship between the two of you.

2. Make a commitment to help resolve the issue.

It’s always a good idea to ask for your child’s opinion before you go straight to teachers or administrators. Sometimes a tween or teen will be afraid of retaliation and you need to be sensitive to this concern when addressing the issue. If there is a fear of retaliation, you will need to be discreet in talking with school authorities and be sure they will do the same. Make sure they will not put your child at risk by calling both kids into the office at the same time or asking them to sit down with the guidance counselor together.

3. Discuss the bullying incidents in detail with school personnel.

Be sure to bring notes about when and where the bullying took place. The more concrete documentation you can provide, the better. Also ask them to share the school’s bullying policy and stress that you want to partner with the school to see that the issue is resolved.

Ask the principal and guidance counselor how this will be accomplished. For example, what other adults, like duty aids, physical education teachers, bus drivers, hallway monitors and cafeteria staff, will be notified to be on alert? Can your child have a new class schedule or a new locker assignment? In other words, what steps can the school take to ensure your child’s safety? It’s very hard for a child to heal, if the school environment feels threatening or hostile. Even if the bullying has stopped, being around the bully may still cause your tween or teen anxiety.

5. Consider outside counseling.

Bullying can affect your child in a number of ways and regaining self-confidence is a process that may require outside intervention. A counselor also can assess your tween or teen for depression and thoughts of suicide. Even if you suspect your child is fine, never underestimate the power of bullying. Kids have taken drastic measures to escape the pain it causes including committing suicide without ever admitting the hurt they were feeling.

6. Encourage your tween or teen to stick with a friend at school.

Having a friend at lunch, in the hallways, while riding the bus and during the walk home is always a good idea. Bullies are more likely to target kids when they are alone. If finding a friend is an issue, consider driving your child to and from school and ask the school if they have a mentor or someone who can be available to your child.

7. Teach your tween or teen skills for overcoming the negative impact of bullying.

One way to do this is to emphasize your child’s strengths, skills, talents and positive attributes. Then, help your child find activities and events that help build on those strengths. Some parents have found that Tae Kwon Do or a self-defense class helps kids develop self-confidence.

8. Keep the lines of communication open with your child.

Be deliberate in asking about your tween or teen’s day and acknowledge any negative feelings or emotions. Watch for signs that your child is being bullied again – either by the same person or a new person. For non-bullying incidents, you also may want to brainstorm strategies for dealing with difficult peer situations. If your child is getting outside counseling, the counselor can give you additional strategies on actively listening and communicating with your child as well.

9. Foster opportunities for socializing with friends outside of school.

Encourage your tween or teen to invite friends over, to the movies or other fun activity. By doing so, you are helping your child develop a strong support system. If your child needs help finding friends look for opportunities within your child’s circle of interests. Keep in mind kids who have friends are less likely to be targeted by bullies. And if they are targeted, having friends helps ease the negative affects.

10. Follow up with the school to ensure that the bullying has been resolved.

If the bullying hasn’t been resolved, or if the school is not taking the situation seriously, you may want to consider removing your child from the situation. Is the bullying serious enough that you can involve law enforcement? Can your tween or teen attend another school? Are there options for online learning programs that are done at home? It’s important that your tween or teen feels like they have options. Feeling like there are no options or that the bullying must be tolerated, leads to feelings of hopeless, depression and even suicide.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Victims/tp/10-Ways-To-Help-Your-Child-Overcome-Bullying.htm

How Addressing Bullying Behavior Prevents Lifelong Bullying


Believe it or not, a number of children will engage in bullying behavior at some point in their lives. It’s not that these kids are bad kids, it’s that they haven’t quite mastered navigating social situations .

In fact, according to a report in Science Daily, 35% of kids admitted to bullying their peers at moderate levels. The report also indicates that many students started bullying in elementary school but stopped by high school.

Research shows that intervening early can prevent lifelong bullying behavior. In fact, according to a Canadian study, 70 to 80% of bullying problems are temporary. What this means is that with minor interventions and support, these children come to understand what is wrong with bullying and learn to relate positively with their classmates.

Even kids who show a stronger tendency toward lifelong bullying can benefit from early intervention. Teaching positive relationship skills and problem-solving skills can head off a pattern of lifelong relationship issues.

Be proactive when it comes addressing bullying

Many times, kids don’t realize that their behavior is inappropriate. They need taught what is acceptable and what isn’t. They also need instruction in important life skills like collaboration, problem-solving and anger management. Therefore, it is important to emphasize these skills in the classroom and at home. Here are some things to focus on.

Be sure you are familiar with the types of bullies that you may come in contact with. By understanding the different types of bullies, you will know what to look for in your class.

Make sure kids know the difference between appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior.

Teach kids how to collaborate with others by giving them group projects or encouraging them to work as a team.

Use role playing or small skits to teach kids about bullying.

Instruct kids on the keys to problem-solving and anger management.

Reward positive behavior in class and at home whenever possible.

Tell the class in advance what types of behavior you consider bullying. Be sure that they know you will intervene when someone reports bullying behavior or if you witness bullying behaviors.

Create a list of consequences for bullying. Some teachers have found it helpful to have lesser consequences for isolated instances of bullying and greater consequences for more serious or chronic bullying.

When teachers communicate that bullying will not be tolerated and then intervene quickly when it does occur, they are demonstrating that bullying will not be tolerated. They also are creating an environment where bullying is less likely to occur. Although bullying may not be completely eliminated, a quick response and a consistent discipline plan will certainly go a long way in preventing some instances of bullying. Here are some tips to get you started.

Intervene quickly when an incident of bullying is reported or when you witness it firsthand.

Pull the bully aside for a private conversation about the bullying. Avoid reprimanding a student in front of their peers. Your conversation will be much more effective if you don’t have an audience.

Keep the conversation about the bullying incident focused on the behavior. Don’t allow the bully to pull the victim into the discussion or to shift blame in some way. Bullies need to be taught to be accountable for their actions and not to blame others for their behaviors.

Encourage bullies to state what they did and to give ideas on how they might have handled the situation differently.

Be sure you are familiar with the risk factors for becoming a bully. This information will help you determine if the bully may benefit from seeing the school counselor or another trained professional.

Implement the appropriate consequences when you witness bullying or another student reports a bullying incident. Try not to delay implementing consequences.

Give the bully ideas on how to handle difficult situations in the future.

Impose more severe consequences if the bullying behavior continues or escalates.

Contact the parents of the child who is bullying and enlist their help in stopping the bullying behavior if bullying becomes a chronic behavior.

Consider getting the principal or the guidance counselor involved, if your consequences are not deterring the behavior.

Remember that all children, including bullies, need to know that you care about them and that you believe they can contribute in a positive way. Be sure you communicate this along with the consequences.

Be patient when working with bullies and understand that change takes time.

Avoid these common mistakes.

Trying to ignore bullying is never a good idea. Typically, bullying doesn’t stop or go away without some type of adult intervention. When bullying is reported to you, make sure you take action. And try to refrain from making these common mistakes.

Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/How-Addressing-Bullying-Behavior-Prevents-Lifelong-Bullying.htm

7 Ways Parents Can Address Sibling Bullying


It is a fact of life. Kids fight and bicker. But sometimes these conflicts can go too far. When normal conflict turns into bullying, parents need to step in because letting kids fight it out is not always the best approach. Research has shown that if bullying is involved, adult intervention is needed because of the imbalance of power in the situation. If you think one of your kids is bullying the other, here are a few things parents can do to confront sibling bullying.

Put an end to aggressive behavior. If your children react to one another in aggressive ways including hitting and pushing and even name-calling, you need to intervene immediately. Tell them that the behavior will not be tolerated and choose consequences you are comfortable with. Encourage them to treat one another with respect even when they disagree. And show them how to relate with one another in healthy ways.

Hold the bully responsible. It’s absolutely imperative that kids that are bullying know that the choice to bully is theirs, regardless of the reason behind it. Stress that bullying causes pain for their brothers and sisters. To ensure that they understand this, be sure your children can repeat back what they did wrong. Then implement appropriate consequences.

For instance, should your child be grounded? Is an apology needed? Should he lose a privilege? The answer will depend on the severity of the bullying incident and your parenting style. But the key is to do something to ensure that your child understands that bullying is unacceptable.

Defuse jealousy. Although jealousy is a normal human emotion, it can be exacerbated if you don’t praise your children equally. Be sure that each child receives recognition, love and acceptance and avoid comparisons at all costs. You also should avoid labeling or categorizing your children. In other words, don’t call them “the athletic one,” “the smart one,” and so on. Doing so only breeds jealousy and contempt. And always point out your kids’ good characteristics. Mention concrete things that you saw or heard them do. And let them know you value their efforts as much as their sibling’s efforts.

Also remember when your kids get compliments from you, what they really experience is affection. The more compliments you give your children, the more affection they feel. They also will feel like they are being recognized and that their needs are being met.

Teach and model respect. The first step in teaching respect, is for parents to model that behavior by acting supportively toward one another. Additionally, you should talk to your kids about what constitutes a healthy friendship and encourage them to take steps to be a good friend to their siblings. You also may want to adopt a family philosophy that encourages family members to help and support one another.

Instill empathy. When a child feels empathy toward other people, this will go a long way in preventing bullying. Kids who are empathetic will be able to see that bullying hurts other people and will learn to refrain from it.

Teach effective problem solving. Kids don’t automatically know how to problem-solve. So many times they will default to unhealthy methods. Work on problem-solving techniques and stress collaboration. Give them situations to work out or create opportunities where they have to work together to get a job done. And be sure to supervise them to ensure one sibling is not taking advantage of another.

Prevent future bullying incidents. Sometimes when bullying is caught early, it won’t happen again. But don’t assume this is always the case. Instead, continue to monitor the situation, correcting bullying or unkind behaviors immediately. And remember if one sibling bullies the other, this does not mean you are a bad parent. Kids are still learning what is acceptable and what isn’t. Be firm and consistent and you and your kids will not only get through this, but come out stronger in the end.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Responses/a/How-Parents-Can-Address-Sibling-Bullying.htm

8 Ways Educators Can Support Victims of Bullying


Teachers and administrators play a crucial role not only in bullying prevention, but also in bullying intervention. In fact, helping victims of bullying through the ordeal is paramount to that child’s future academic success and overall wellbeing.

But for some educators, knowing exactly what to do or say can seem overwhelming at times. After all, teachers should not be expected to serve as counselors. Their job is to educate. But they can support the overall recovery process in the classroom and incorporate it into the daily learning schedule.

Take immediate action. One of the best ways to end a bullying situation is to intervene immediately and with appropriate consequences. Of course, be sure to follow your school’s guidelines for handling a bullying situation.

Avoid discussing the incident in front of other students. Be sure to separate the bully and the victim when discussing a bullying incident. Never require the victim to share the details of the bullying in front of the bully. Bullying involves a power imbalance and mediation does not work. It’s also too stressful for victims to confront someone they perceive to have more power than them. What’s more, you are likely setting the victim up to be retaliated against. Disclosures of bullying should be done confidentially and with the safety of the victim in mind.

Offer the victim protection. If bullying is occurring in the hallways, cafeteria, locker rooms, at recess or in the bathrooms, be sure to alert the school’s administrators. There should be an adult presence in all your school’s bullying hot spots if you expect to prevent future incidents. The more difficult your school makes it for children to bully throughout the school day, the less you will have to deal with it on a regular basis. The goal is that you implement bullying prevention practices that work so that the majority of your day is spent focusing on education and not on correcting bullying behaviors.

Find the victim a mentor or a buddy. Friendship is a crucial element in bullying prevention. Athletes in particular are good options for helping victims of bullying. If you can connect the victim with a mentor or a buddy, this will go a long way in deterring future bullying especially if the two can walk the halls together and eat lunch together. Also, this new friendship may help build the child’s self-esteem and resiliency. It is extremely important for victims of bullying to know there are people in the school that care about them.

Call the parents of the victim. This goes without saying that the parents of the victim need to be called. Arrange to discuss the bullying incident with them and let them know what the school plans to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Be prepared for an emotional response. It is difficult for parents to learn that another child is targeting their child. Be patient and listen with an open mind. Also, assure them that you or an administrator will be discussing the incident with the bully’s parents. For privacy reasons, you can’t really discuss too many specifics. And most parents of victims find this difficult to accept. So be prepared to respond to their objections in a calm and understanding manner. Try to keep the focus of the conversation on what the school plans to do to support their child and less about how the school plans to discipline the bully.

Provide the victim with resources. It is wise for educators to have a list of resources for bullying victims readily available. That way, when a bullying incident does occur, you don’t have to do a lot of research. You can direct the student and his parents with ideas on where to get help. For instance, provide the victim and his parents with printouts or a list of websites that you feel will help him in the recovery process. It’s also a good idea to have a list of community resources available where they can get additional help if they need it.

Open a discussion in the classroom. Incorporate a discussion about the importance of respectful behavior into your lessons. Look for ways to tie it in with a history lesson, a social studies lesson or a reading lesson. There are lots of examples where it is easy to tie in a discussion on bullying. Have your kids talk about their feelings when it comes to bullying and encourage them to offer suggestions for bullying prevention. You will be amazed at how much insight you will gain into bullying at your school when you give your students a forum to discuss the issue. Additionally, an open class discussion often goes a long way in making bullying an unacceptable behavior.

Monitor the situation. Never assume that the bullying has stopped just because the school intervened. With some students, it may take multiple interventions and increasing consequences before they change their bullying behavior. And sadly for some students, bullying works for them so they may never choose to change. For this reason, you need to keep in touch with the victim and determine how things are progressing. If he is still being bullied, then you need to step in and address the situation. No educator should ever believe that ignoring bullying is the best answer. The goal should always be to prevent bullying and then address it when it does occur. If bullying isn’t addressed, it only escalates and negatively impacts the learning environment. Research has shown even bystanders are impacted by bullying. So it is in everyone’s best interest to do what they can to keep bullying at bay.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/8-Ways-Educators-Can-Support-Victims-Of-Bullying.htm

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Bullied Kid


When a child is being bullied, it can be hard to know what to say. But research has shown that your response is crucial to his recovery. So be sure you choose your words carefully.

Unfortunately, many people want to focus on what the victim did or said during the incident. But this is a bad approach. Keep your focus on the bully, his choice to bully and what the victim can do to move beyond the incident.

You also want to avoid criticizing or minimizing what the victim of bullying is experiencing. Remember, kids often don’t tell adults about bullying. So you should start by being glad that the victim has come forward and tell him that. Here are the top five things you should never say to a bullied child.

“What did you do to cause it?” When a child comes to you about a bullying incident, one of the worst things you can do is to put the blame back on the victim. Asking the victim of bullying what he did to cause it implies that he is somehow responsible for the bully’s choices. Remember, bullying is not about a defect in the victim, but about a choice the bully made. Be sure that the responsibility for bullying is placed on the bully’s shoulders not on the victim's. Now, with that said, if you suspect that there is more to a bullying incident than what the victim is telling you ask the person reporting the incident open-ended questions but never assume that the victim is responsible for the incident.

“Why didn’t you stand up for yourself?” Instead of accusing the victim of doing something wrong, offer to help him learn how to manage the bullying incident. Offer support, report the incident and help him find a solution to ending the bullying. Remember bullying often involves a power imbalance and victims can feel helpless. Expecting a victim of bullying to stand up to a bully without being coached on how to respond will not be effective. But remember, even if the victim has been coached on how to respond, bullying situations are scary and even the best-prepared victims can be caught off guard or freeze in response. A more effective approach is to help the victim overcome any negative feelings from the situation.

“You need to toughen up.” Statements that imply there is something wrong with the victim minimize the bully’s actions. They also communicate that the victim is defective or “too sensitive” because he is bothered by someone else’s poor choices. While it is good to instill perseverance and assertiveness skills, being affected or hurt by a bully’s actions is a normal response. Instead of criticizing the victim, try encouraging him by reminding him that it took courage to report the bullying to you.

“Get over it.” Bullying is not something a person just forgets about. Bullying has significant consequences and can have a lasting impact, even into adulthood. Expecting a child to just forget about the incident and “get over it” is counterproductive. Instead, look for ways to help the victim. Some options include helping him develop friendships, teaching social skills and building self-esteem.

“Maybe you should change.” If you remember one thing about bullying, remember this: The victim of bullying does not need to change, the bully does. Expecting a victim to be different or compromise who he is as a person only gives the bully more power. It also communicates that the bully is somehow right and there is something truly wrong with the victim. Even if there are things that a victim could do differently to avoid school bullies, refrain from communicating that there is something inherently wrong with the victim. Statements like these will only wound the victim more. It is best to try to build up a victim’s self-esteem rather than make statements that imply that you agree with the bully.
Source:  bullying.about.com/od/Victims/fl/5-Things-You-Should-Never-Say-to-a-Bullied-Kid.htm

6 Ways Parents Make Bullying Worse


Bullying is stressful for everyone involved. But sometimes parents are either so overcome by the emotions surrounding bullying or they miss the bullying all together. And if they’re not careful, they can actually make a bullying situation worse for their child.

Here are the top six mistakes parents make when it comes to bullying in their child’s life.

Missing the warning signs. Be sure you are familiar with all the signs of bullying. These subtle signs include everything from frequent complaints about stomachaches and headaches as well as not wanting to do to school. Sometimes kids will allude to bullying without ever using the word. For instance, they may say there is a lot of “drama” at school or kids “mess” with them. These phrases are often subtle hints that bullying may be taking place. It’s especially important that parents can identify the warning signs because most kids don’t tell anyone that they are being bullying.

Ignoring the bullying. Sometimes parents think that if they ignore a situation it will go away. Or worse yet, they minimize the situation by making light of it or telling their child to toughen up. If you are one of the few parents whose kids will tell them about bullying, make sure you take time to listen to what they are saying. Gather as much information as you can and then make a commitment to help resolve the issue. Be sure you avoid getting emotional. In fact, research shows that if you remain calm and choose your words carefully, you are taking the first step in helping your child cope with bullying.

Dramatizing situations. Some parents go to the opposite extreme and dramatize every mean thing a person does or label every conflict bullying. They immediately call the school, the teacher, the coach or the principal without giving their child a chance to navigate the situation. What’s more, parents need to learn to differentiate between bullying and normal conflict. They also need to recognize the difference between unkind behavior and bullying. For something to constitute bullying, there must be three components including a power imbalance, an intent to harm your child and repeating incidents. If these are not present, it may not be bullying your child is experiencing.

Focusing on the wrong things. Sometimes parents get so wrapped up in the idea of bullying, that they focus more on getting justice, or revenge. Then, they lose sight of what is really important and that is helping their child move beyond the bullying incident. If the bullying is taking place at school, parents need to allow room for the school administrators to handle the situation according to their guidelines. As parents, the main focus should not be on the punishment the bully receives, but determining whether or not the bullying has stopped and whether or not your child is safe. If the bullying is continuing and the school is not taking steps to protect your child, then you do need to follow up with the school. But parents need to realize that they may not have much control over the disciplinary actions. Focusing your energy on what is happening in the bully’s life instead of what is happening with your child will produce disastrous results.

Not helping their child overcome bullying. When bullying occurs, your number one priority as a parent should be to help your child overcome bullying. You also need to look for ways to prevent future bullying incidents. Talk to your kids about how to avoid bullies. Build their self-esteem and resiliency. Teach them how to be assertive. Help them develop friendships. And most importantly find outside help for them when needed. Waiting too long to address depression and thoughts of suicide can have disastrous results.

Gossiping about the bully. One of the worst things a parent can do when their child is bullied is to gossip or spread rumors. Again, this is something that takes away from helping your child. And, it can only complicate things. Remember that a bully is someone’s child and you should treat him with the same respect that you expect your child to be treated with.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Victims/fl/6-Ways-Parent-Make-Bullying-Worse.htm

10 Bullying Prevention Goals for Schools


School bullying is an issue facing every school in the nation. In fact, it crosses all ethnic, socioeconomic and religious boundaries and impacts every school to some degree. As a result, it has become increasingly important for teachers and administrators to take steps to address school bullying.

Aside from impacting learning and academic success, bullying also creates an environment where stress and anxiety are higher. As a result, it is in every school’s best interest to address bullying issues in an effective manner.

For instance, this might include identifying risk factors associated with bullying, intervening quickly and efficiently when bullying occurs, assessing current bullying prevention programs and developing prevention programs that work.

But, one of the first steps in accomplishing these tasks is to establish a list of bullying prevention goals. Here is a list of the ten most important bullying prevention goals for schools.

Goal #1: Make bullying prevention a priority from the first day of school.

Be sure every student understands from day one what bullying is and that is unacceptable. Remember, every student has a right to feel emotionally and physically safe while at school. Establish classroom rules with specific examples of what is acceptable and unacceptable. Post these guidelines in every classroom and refer to them when a student gets out of line.

Goal #2: Establish intervention programs for socially vulnerable students.

Identify the most socially vulnerable students at the school and determine what makes them feel successful. Help them develop friendships and make connections at the school. Find leaders within the school that can connect with these students and mentor them. For instance, empower athletes to prevent bullying as well as students who excel academically or who are service oriented.

Teach kids how to identify bullying situations and give them tools for responding. Sometimes they will be able to intervene without adult intervention and other times they will need to get the help of an adult. Provide safe ways for them to report bullying anonymously or confidentially. The key is to break the silence surrounding bullying by making it safe for bystanders to report bullying. One way to ensure this happens is to take all reports of bullying seriously.

Goal #4: Create discipline procedures and consequences for bullies.

Discipline and consequences for bullying should always match the severity of the issue. They also should be designed so that the behavior will not be repeated. Lastly, discipline programs should be designed so that kids will be less likely to repeat the behavior again or risk more severe consequences the next time around.

Goal #5: Replace the school’s bystanders with an “Upstander Community.”

Creating an upstander community involves taking the middle 70% of students who often only witness bullying and developing a group of responders. In other words, foster leadership in these students that will encourage them to do something about bullying rather than just standing idle.

Goal #6: Ensure that teachers and administrators are committed to taking a stand against bullying.

Remember students pay close attention to how teachers and administrators respond. And if they observe you not taking bullying seriously or not responding immediately, they will assume bullying is an issue you don’t want to be bothered with. This can be detrimental to your school’s bullying prevention programs because bullies will feel empowered and victims will feel like no one cares. As a result, they will often keep silent about the bullying they are experiencing.

Goal #7: Look for opportunities to role-play, perform skits or incorporate anti-bullying messages into the curriculum.

At the beginning of the year, challenge teachers to review their curriculum and look for ways to incorporate an anti-bullying message into the curriculum. Reward teachers for being creative and for thinking outside the box.

Goal #8: Ensure that staff behavior matches core school values.

To prevent bullying, build respect and develop inclusiveness, staff must be willing to commit to matching their words and actions. This helps students learn to trust what is being said. Consequently, if staff members have cliques or bully one another, this does not build trust among students and creates a hostile environment. Remember, students observe and model the adults around them. Be sure your school is modeling appropriate behavior.

Goal #9: Develop partnerships with parents.

It is important to communicate to parents your school’s anti-bullying efforts. This not only gives a sense of comfort to parents of potential victims but it also clearly communicates to parents of potential bullies that bullying is not tolerated. Be sure they know what their roles are as partners in the anti-bullying program. When you have parent support behind a program, the hope is that it will be supported at home and will help deter some of the school bullying.

Goal #10: Challenge students to rise to new levels of behavior.

School programs and character education can challenge students to rise above their comfort zones and reduce negativity. Be sure to foster empathy and good citizenship. And find ways to challenge students to mingle with students outside of their circle of friends. For instance, some schools have found that “mix it up” days are useful because they encourage students to sit with others at lunch.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/10-Bullying-Prevention-Goals-For-Schools.htm

6 Reasons Why Teachers Need to Address Bullying


Discover how failing to address bullying can impact your classroom

School bullying is an issue that every teacher in the nation must address. In fact, bullying is not limited by ethnic, socioeconomic and religious boundaries and it impacts every classroom in some way. As a result, it is essential that teachers take steps to address school bullying.

Aside from impacting the learning and academic success of your students, bullying also creates an environment where stress, anxiety and fear are higher. As a result, it is in every teacher’s best interest to address bullying issues in an effective manner. Here are the top six reasons why teachers need to address bullying.

playground or school bus issue; it filters over into your classroom. And if bullying is prevalent among your students they are going to be more focused on what is happening around them than they are with what you are teaching. What’s more, the emotions that bulling provokes, even in bystanders, can drastically interfere with your students’ ability to learn. Address bullying from day one and you will find that your students’ academic success rates will be higher.

Teachers risk litigation if they fail to address to bullying. While every state addresses bullying differently, the majority of states have laws regarding bullying, cyberbullying and other similar behaviors. Be sure you are familiar with your state’s requirements regarding bullying. Ignoring state laws regarding bullying can lead to litigation if bullying occurs in your classroom and you do nothing about it.

Ethical teachers address bullying. Parents and students have an expectation that school will be safe place. When teachers ignore or do not respond to bullying situations, they are not behaving ethically. What’s more, when teachers do not respond appropriately to bullying situations, they are indirectly communicating to the victim that they don’t care; and they are communicating to the bullies that they can bully others with no worries about repercussions. And lastly, they are communicating to the bystanders that they condone inappropriate treatment of other people. When a teacher fails to respond adequately to bullying, the entire classroom suffers.

Bullying adversely impacts the victim. Students who are targeted by bullying experience a wide range of negative emotions, including everything from fear and anxiety to depression and even suicidal thoughts. As a result, these emotions impact not only the health and wellbeing of the student, but also impact his attendance, his success on tests and his overall learning ability. What’s more, the consequences of childhood bullying often last into adulthood impacting the future success of the student as well. Teachers are not preparing students for the future when they allow bullying to go unaddressed.

Bullying adversely affects the bully. Bullies can change, but not without support or intervention. Without proper discipline, bullies will continue to engage in unhealthy behaviors and will never learn to be empathetic or to take responsibility for their actions. Instead, bullies learn that aggression toward others results in power and therefore their behavior becomes a very hard habit to break. What’s more, bullies oftentimes will escalate their behavior, which could result in extreme levels of school violence. What’s more, research shows that 60 % of male bullies who bully others in grades six through nine are convicted of at least one crime as adults. Conversely, if bullying is caught early, it can turn a child’s life around.

Bullying adversely impacts the bystander. Students who witness bullying actually experience as many consequences from the incident as the victim does. They also may come to believe that bullying is acceptable and that the adults at school either do not care enough or are powerless to stop it. Some bystanders may join in with the bully and develop a pack mentality. Meanwhile, other bystanders may fret and worry that they will become the next target. Research also indicates that witnesses to bullying lose their sense of security at school, which can reduce learning

In short, if you do not address bullying, your school not only runs the risk of developing a reputation for being dangerous or unsafe, but it also runs the risk of not fulfilling its academic mission, losing enrollment or becoming the subject of litigation.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Educators/fl/6-Reasons-Why-Teachers-Need-to-Address-Bullying.htm

10 Ways to Respond to a Teacher Who Bullies


Learn how to address bullying when it involves your child’s teacher

The majority of teachers your child will encounter are good at what they do. In fact, many teachers go beyond the call of duty and are very altruistic. However, there are teachers who do not handle their responsibilities well. And even some teachers who bully their students. Instead of using proper discipline procedures or effective classroom management techniques, they use their power as a teacher to condemn, manipulate or ridicule students.

When the bullying is physical, most parents don’t hesitate to report incidents. But, when the bullying is emotional or verbal, they often aren’t sure how to proceed. One concern is that teachers will retaliate and make things worse for their child. While this is a valid concern, it’s never a good idea to ignore the situation. Here are some ideas for addressing bullying by a teacher.

Be sure to document all bullying incidents. Keep a record everything that happens including dates, times, witnesses, actions and consequences. For instance, if the teacher berates your child in front of the class be sure to write it down including the date, the approximate time, what was said and which students were present. If other students participate in the bullying as a result of the teacher’s actions, be sure to include that information too. And if there is any physical bullying, cyberbullying or harassment based on race or disability, report this to your local police immediately. Depending on the area where you live, these forms of bullying are often crimes.

Reassure and support your child. Be sure to keep an open dialogue with your child about school and what is taking place. Remember your first priority is that you get help for your child. Don’t hesitate to connect with a counselor and be sure to have your child evaluated by a pediatrician who can check for signs of depression, anxiety issues and sleep problems. Make sure you keep a close watch for signs of bullying and remember that kids often don’t report bullying behavior.

Take steps to build your child’s self-esteem. Help your child see his strengths. Also encourage him to focus on things other than the bullying like favorite activities or new hobbies. Don’t spend too much time talking about the bullying. Doing so keeps your child focused on the negative in their life. Instead, help him move beyond it and see that there are other things in life to be happy about. This will help build resilience.

Talk with your child before taking steps to resolve the issue. It’s never a good idea to have a meeting with a teacher or principal without telling your child. You run the risk of embarrassing your child if he finds out about the situation after the fact. Additionally, your child will need to be prepared emotionally if the meeting does not go well and the teacher retaliates.

Follow the chain of command. Remember, the closer someone is to the problem, the more likely he will be able to take swift, effective action. If you go straight to the top, you will most likely be asked whom you have talked to about the situation and what have you done to remedy the situation. You want to be sure you have exhausted all possibilities for resolving this issue at the lower levels before moving higher. Additionally, if you have documentation from your interactions at lower levels, it will be hard to ignore what you have to say when you do get to the top.

Consider requesting a meeting with the teacher. Depending on the severity and frequency of the bullying, it may be wise to go directly to the person doing the bullying first. Many times, a teacher meeting will resolve the problem if you take a cooperative approach when discussing the situation. Try to keep an open mind and listen to the teacher’s perspective. Avoid screaming, accusing, blaming and threatening to sue.

Be sure to express your concerns but allow others to engage in the conversation. For instance, if your child seems to be afraid in class, mention this. Then ask the teacher what she thinks may be going on. This allows the teacher to talk about what she sees. Additionally, it’s less likely she will get defensive if you are open to hearing her perspective.

Take your complaint higher if the situation doesn’t improve or the bullying is severe in nature. Sometimes teachers will rationalize their behavior, blame the student or refuse to admit any wrongdoing. Other times the bullying is much too severe to risk speaking with a teacher directly. If this is the case, ask to meet with the principal in person. Be sure to share your documentation. You also could request a classroom transfer at this point. Not all principals will honor such requests, but some do.

Continue to go up the chain of command if you don’t get results.Unfortunately, some principals will let teachers who bully go unchallenged or deny that bullying is taking place. If this is the case, it’s time to file a formal complaint with superintendent or the school board, demanding a response. Be sure to keep good records of all your communications including e-mails, letters and documentation of telephone calls.

Don’t let the bullying drag on indefinitely. If the principal, superintendent or school board drags their feet in responding to you, then it may be time to get legal counsel. In the meantime, you also may want to investigate other options for your child like a transfer to another school, private school, homeschooling and online programs. Leaving your child in a bullying situation can have dire consequences. Be sure you make every effort to either end the bullying or remove your child from the situation. Don’t assume the bullying will end without intervention.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Victims/a/10-Ways-To-Respond-To-A-Teacher-Who-Bullies.htm

6 Ways Educators Can Assess Their Bullying Prevention Programs


Questions school personnel should ask themselves about school bullying

There’s sufficient evidence that bullying at school affects academics and learning. And it’s not limited to the bullies and their targets. Bullying also impacts bystanders. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Virginia found that schools that don’t address bullying or have a climate of bullying are impacted significantly.

For instance, high schools in Virginia with significantly lower scores on standardized tests also reported a high rate of bullying. One theory is that students in schools with high levels of bullying have difficulty concentrating and learning because bullying is so distracting. Aside from taking away from learning, bullying also creates an environment where stress and anxiety are higher.

As a result, it is in any school’s best interest to address bullying issues in an effective manner. This includes everything from identifying the risk factors associated with bullying, to intervening quickly into bullying situations and developing prevention programs that are effective.

Educators can evaluate bullying prevention programs by asking these questions of themselves and their students. Evaluating the answers will not only give insight into the successfulness of the program, but it also will help highlight areas that still need improvement. Following are six questions school personnel should ask about school bullying.

Have we created a safe and supportive environment? A safe and supportive environment is one that features a culture of inclusion and respect. While it is important to acknowledge what the school has done to create this culture, it’s also important to determine if bullying incidents have reduced in number. The best way to accomplish this is to ask the students how they feel.

This can be done with an anonymous survey given periodically throughout the school year. Allow space for students to comment on what might still need to be done. Remember, bullying often occurs when adults aren’t around, but students often witness it. Gathering information from the student population will paint a much clearer picture of bullying at your school than simply polling the teachers and staff.

Do we manage classrooms effectively? Effective classroom management involves establishing rules, communicating what is appropriate and what isn’t, and reinforcing those messages daily. Again, when asking this question it should be directed not only at the teachers and staff but also at the students.

What do the students think of how their teachers manage the classrooms? Is there a tone of respect? Do teachers respond to bullying incidents and encourage respectful behavior? Who has control in the classroom, the students or the teachers? Because students are the ones who experience bullying firsthand, don’t neglect getting their input.

Have we increased supervision in bullying hot spots? First and foremost, you can’t increase supervision in bullying hot spots if you don’t know where they are to begin with. Although there are some hot spots that are consistent among schools including bathrooms, lunchrooms, school buses, playgrounds and hallways, there may be areas that are known bullying hot spots that are specific to your school.

For instance, do you have a stairwell that isn’t well supervised by teachers? What about a hallway that is not frequented by a lot of teachers? Is there a spot at recess that the monitors can’t see? Make sure you poll the students to find out where the bullying is occurring. Then, be sure you are addressing these areas consistently with adult supervision and other safety measures.

Do we stop bullying immediately? When it comes to addressing bullying, this doesn’t just mean breaking up fights or preventing physical bullying. There are more than six types of bullying that occur in schools. For instance, don’t forget to address cliques at school, mean girl behavior and other forms of relational aggression.

Another way to stop potential bullying is to eliminate the possibility for kids to ostracize others. Assigning teams in gym class rather than allowing kids to pick teams is another way to accomplish this. Other options include assigning partners or groups for class projects and assigning seats in the classroom.

But don’t forget to poll your students to find out how you are doing. And don’t be surprised if you don’t get a passing grade. Students often feel that adults don’t address bullying or that they ignore the culture of bullying because they just don’t want to be bothered. You are going to have to work extra hard to demonstrate that everyone on your staff is working to prevent bullying at school.

How effective are we at finding out what happened? There’s no denying that teachers and administrators are often spread thin. They are trying to educate students, meet state standards and introduce common core curriculum. But, part of the education process is handling bullying situations quickly and effectively. And unfortunately, this often means taking time to find out what happened in each bullying situation.

Fortunately, with security cameras and programs to empower bystanders, this has gotten a little easier, but be sure your staff is not taking any shortcuts. They need to listen carefully to all reports from students, parents and bystanders without blaming. Instead, focus on finding out what happened. Remember, bullying incidents cannot be addressed effectively if facts are missing. Take the time to research the situation, but don’t dawdle either. Bullying is a dangerous situation that can often result in very serious consequences for the victims. The goal is to be quick and effective.

Do we support the kids involved in bullying incidents? It’s important to support the kids impacted by the bullying by providing extra support where needed. Remember, you are responsible to make sure the bullying doesn’t continue and that the effects are minimized. This means that you need to follow up with both the victim and the bully on a consistent basis. Check in and see how they are doing and if any more incidents have occurred.

Usually, bullying will continue or even escalate unless it is clear that teachers and staff are committed to seeing it come to an end. Remember, if a bully continues to bully or harass students, the consequences or school discipline should increase in severity with each incident.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/6-Ways-Educators-Can-Assess-Their-Bullying-Prevention-Programs.htm

10 Bullying Prevention Goals for Schools


Ideas for educators on addressing school bullying

School bullying is an issue facing every school in the nation. In fact, it crosses all ethnic, socioeconomic and religious boundaries and impacts every school to some degree. As a result, it has become increasingly important for teachers and administrators to take steps to address school bullying.

Aside from impacting learning and academic success, bullying also creates an environment where stress and anxiety are higher. As a result, it is in every school’s best interest to address bullying issues in an effective manner.

For instance, this might include identifying risk factors associated with bullying, intervening quickly and efficiently when bullying occurs, assessing current bullying prevention programs and developing prevention programs that work.

But, one of the first steps in accomplishing these tasks is to establish a list of bullying prevention goals. Here is a list of the ten most important bullying prevention goals for schools.

Goal #1: Make bullying prevention a priority from the first day of school.

Be sure every student understands from day one what bullying is and that is unacceptable. Remember, every student has a right to feel emotionally and physically safe while at school. Establish classroom rules with specific examples of what is acceptable and unacceptable. Post these guidelines in every classroom and refer to them when a student gets out of line.

Goal #2: Establish intervention programs for socially vulnerable students.

Identify the most socially vulnerable students at the school and determine what makes them feel successful. Help them develop friendships and make connections at the school. Find leaders within the school that can connect with these students and mentor them. For instance, empower athletes to prevent bullying as well as students who excel academically or who are service oriented.

Teach kids how to identify bullying situations and give them tools for responding. Sometimes they will be able to intervene without adult intervention and other times they will need to get the help of an adult. Provide safe ways for them to report bullying anonymously or confidentially. The key is to break the silence surrounding bullying by making it safe for bystanders to report bullying. One way to ensure this happens is to take all reports of bullying seriously.

Goal #4: Create discipline procedures and consequences for bullies.

Discipline and consequences for bullying should always match the severity of the issue. They also should be designed so that the behavior will not be repeated. Lastly, discipline programs should be designed so that kids will be less likely to repeat the behavior again or risk more severe consequences the next time around.

Goal #5: Replace the school’s bystanders with an “Upstander Community.”

Creating an upstander community involves taking the middle 70% of students who often only witness bullying and developing a group of responders. In other words, foster leadership in these students that will encourage them to do something about bullying rather than just standing idle.

Goal #6: Ensure that teachers and administrators are committed to taking a stand against bullying.

Remember students pay close attention to how teachers and administrators respond. And if they observe you not taking bullying seriously or not responding immediately, they will assume bullying is an issue you don’t want to be bothered with. This can be detrimental to your school’s bullying prevention programs because bullies will feel empowered and victims will feel like no one cares. As a result, they will often keep silent about the bullying they are experiencing.

Goal #7: Look for opportunities to role-play, perform skits or incorporate anti-bullying messages into the curriculum.

At the beginning of the year, challenge teachers to review their curriculum and look for ways to incorporate an anti-bullying message into the curriculum. Reward teachers for being creative and for thinking outside the box.

Goal #8: Ensure that staff behavior matches core school values.

To prevent bullying, build respect and develop inclusiveness, staff must be willing to commit to matching their words and actions. This helps students learn to trust what is being said. Consequently, if staff members have cliques or bully one another, this does not build trust among students and creates a hostile environment. Remember, students observe and model the adults around them. Be sure your school is modeling appropriate behavior.

Goal #9: Develop partnerships with parents.

It is important to communicate to parents your school’s anti-bullying efforts. This not only gives a sense of comfort to parents of potential victims but it also clearly communicates to parents of potential bullies that bullying is not tolerated. Be sure they know what their roles are as partners in the anti-bullying program. When you have parent support behind a program, the hope is that it will be supported at home and will help deter some of the school bullying.

Goal #10: Challenge students to rise to new levels of behavior.

School programs and character education can challenge students to rise above their comfort zones and reduce negativity. Be sure to foster empathy and good citizenship. And find ways to challenge students to mingle with students outside of their circle of friends. For instance, some schools have found that “mix it up” days are useful because they encourage students to sit with others at lunch.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/10-Bullying-Prevention-Goals-For-Schools.htm

10 Ways to Improve School Climate and Prevent Bullying


What schools can do to improve their school climate

Research shows that bullying impacts not only the quality of school environments, but it also undermines academic achievement. In fact, there is a direct correlation between high rates of bullying and reduced academic achievement. And everyone is impacted.

For instance, kids who are bullied are more likely to skip school, struggle academically and have higher levels of anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, bullies tend to struggle with impulse control, engage in delinquent behavior, disrupt or skip school and abuse drugs and alcohol. Bullying even affects the academic success of bystanders. In fact, the consequences that bystanders experience can be just as severe as what the victim experiences.

Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. Studies have shown that students in schools with positive climates have better attendance records and study habits. They also are motivated to succeed, engage in cooperative learning, achieve higher grades and test scores and demonstrate subject mastery. Here are ten ways schools can improve their overall climate and reduce bullying.

Evaluate current bullying prevention programs. Most schools have some sort of anti-bullying policy and engage in bullying prevention programs. But not all programs are effective. Quality programs are proactive and responsive. In other words, they contain elements designed to prevent bullying from happening, but they also are effective in disciplining bullies and supporting victims of bullying.

Develop bullying prevention goals. Every school should have goals for preventing bullying. At the top of the list should be a goal of responding to bullying immediately. Not only does this help support the victims of bullying, but it also communicates that bullying will not be tolerated. Additionally, when early intervention takes place this greatly reduces the likelihood that bullying will become a lifelong pattern of behavior.

Incorporate social and emotional learning. Teaching students how to manage their emotions and respond appropriately to the emotions of others is an important part of education. Not only does high emotional intelligence mean kids are more empathetic to one another, but it also means more academic success. And, kids with high EQs are more successful in their careers because supervisors trust them and colleagues respect them.

Empower bystanders. Almost every successful bullying prevention program contains methods for empowering bystanders to stand up to bullies. These programs also give bystanders the tools they need to know what to do when they witness bullying. And they address the reasons why many bystanders remain silent.

Address cyberbullying. It is no secret that cyberbullying filters over into the hallways and classrooms at school. Proactive schools understand this and educate students about the consequences of cyberbullying, sexting and sexual bullying. Additionally, it is wise for schools to implement cyberbullying guidelines so that a plan is in place to address the issue when it occurs. Taking a strong stand against cyberbullying goes a long way in improving the overall school climate.

Teach character education. Building character among a school’s students not only helps improve academics, but it also helps prevent bullying. Through character education, kids learn to be diligent, responsible and ethical in their approach to school and others. As a result, they know how to interact properly with their teachers, the staff and their fellow students, turning their school and their classrooms into a better place.

Foster respectful attitudes. Respect is at the root of bullying prevention. This means not only are the kids taught that everyone deserves respect, but the teachers and staff model this behavior. And when the environment of a school is respectful, there is less bullying. This also means that relational aggression, mean girl behavior, cyberbullying, name-calling and other forms of bullying are drastically reduced too

Empower athletes. Schools often fail to utilize all the resources at their disposal when it comes to bullying prevention. In fact, one of the best ways to prevent bullying isn’t by developing more programs, but by empowering the students to watch out for one another and to change the climate of the school. Sometimes athletes are among the most influential student groups at the school. As a result, empowering athletes to take a stand against bullying can be extremely beneficial.

Train teachers and coaches. In order for teachers to prevent bullying in their classrooms and coaches to prevent bullying on their teams, they need to be trained on bullying and how to respond to bullying situations at school. Be clear about your expectations and give them the tools they need in order to be successful. For example, talk about the common mistakes coaches make such as not having clear consequences for sports bullying and not being proactive in preventing sports bullying.

Train bus drivers and recess monitors. Another way to improve school climate is to be sure all elements of the school day are bully-free zones. Talk to your bus drivers about ways to bully-proof the school bus. And provide your recess monitors with bullying prevention tips.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Educators/fl/10-Ways-to-Improve-School-Climate-and-Prevent-Bullying.htm

Bullying Prevention – What Works Best?


Discover what methods work in preventing school bullying

Years ago, bullying wasn't considered much of a problem. But today, people realize that it's a widespread social issue. The challenge then, is to find ways to prevent it from happening. But that’s not always easy.

Simply educating kids about bullying will not cause kids to bully less. And zero tolerance policies are sometimes so severe that they are not effective either. Effective bullying prevention requires an integrated program with many different facets. The best school anti-bullying programs collect information about bullying at their school, intervene when they observe bullying and change the climate that supports the behavior.

If you are considering developing an anti-bullying campaign or you want to advocate for your school to develop one, remember that a program containing the following characteristics will be the most effective at preventing bullying.

Accept that bullying exists and is a problem

Kids are often reluctant to report bullying. As a result, it's often underreported. Not knowing about all the bullying incidents can leave teachers, administrators and parents with a false sense of security that bullying is minimal at their school.

But researchers have found that administering an anonymous survey is one way to gather accurate information on how often kids are bullied, where the incidents occur and what types of bullying incidents are taking place. Once this information is gathered, school administrators can develop a plan that addresses the school’s specific problems. This information also can be used to measure the success of any program that is implemented.

It’s also a good idea for parents and teachers to be sure they are able to spot the signs of bullying. Relying entirely on reporting processes as a way to discover bullying incidents is never a good idea. The important thing to remember is that bullying exists everywhere. If it is left unaddressed, it will grow into a bigger problem. It's much easier to address bullying issues while they are still manageable rather than waiting until a major outbreak of school violence occurs.

To change school climate requires a collective effort on the part of the adults at the school. Everyone needs to be on board for the culture to change. When there is a perceived tolerance of bullying either by lack of intervention or the appearance of not having time for kids who want to report bullying, then the school climate becomes one that enables bullying to continue. Even if not intentionally, when teachers and administrators are not consistent in handling bullying or when they look the other way, they are inadvertently condoning bullying activity.

In order for the climate to change all school employees including teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and duty aides must become intolerant of bullying. They must consistently identify the bullies, address bullying immediately and implement appropriate consequences.

What's more, perceptions by students also must change. In other words, bullying must no longer be viewed as cool. Reinforcing a mindset that bullying is unfair, undesirable and unacceptable will help change the culture as well. When both students and school personnel view bullying as inappropriate, then change will begin to occur.

Empower bystanders

One way to change the culture in a school is to empower the bystanders. If the school can focus more on getting people who witness bullying to stand up and say something about it, then the bullying prevention efforts will move in the right direction. When bullies no longer have an audience and are no longer able to increase their social standing with bullying, the number of incidents will decrease.

One of the first steps in making this happen is to implement safe reporting practices. When kids who witness bullying feel comfortable that reporting incidents will not cause them to be bullied as well, they will be more likely to report incidents.

Safe reporting procedures provide a way for students to report bullying in a confidential and safe way. For instance, some schools have used anonymous tip lines or texting programs to allow students to report bullying without going directly to school administrators. Additionally, students need to be comfortable that their names will not be used when addressing bullying incidents. They also should know that they wouldn’t be required to sit down in the same room with the bully.

Finally, it's especially important to educate kids about the importance of speaking up. When they don’t say or do anything, their silence gives the bully more power in the situation. Instead, give students ideas on how to respond to bullying situations.

When kids know that keeping silent only makes the situation worse for everyone involved, including them, they will be more likely to speak out. They need to recognize too, there is strength in numbers. If a large group of kids show disapproval for bullying behavior, it will decrease.

Develop disciplinary procedures and enforce them consistently

Schools that develop clear rules about bullying and then enforce those rules consistently have more successful prevention programs. Additionally, students, parents and teachers should all know exactly what behavior is inappropriate and what will happen if a child engages in it.

Typically, the most successful disciplinary procedures are graduated in nature. In other words, as the offense increases in severity so does the disciplinary action. By contrast, zero tolerance policies are usually not effective – especially if the punishment is severe. For instance, if suspension is the only consequence for any type of bullying behavior, students and teachers may fear it is too harsh and refrain from reporting bullying incidents.

Finally, for bullying prevention programs to be successful, discipline must be consistent. This means that no student is exempt from being disciplined for bullying – not the star student, not the star athlete, not the kids with parents who work for the school. Consequences for bullying have to be implemented without regard for who the student is. If a school fails to do this, the students will not trust that there is fair treatment and the program won’t be successful.

Increase supervision in danger zones

Bullies almost always know where the adults are before they strike. As a result, a large amount of bullying occurs under the radar where adult supervision is often lacking. These areas are typically on the school bus, in the locker rooms, on the playground and in the bathrooms.

When schools are able to identify where bullying is occurring most often and then provide more of an adult presence in those areas, bullying will decrease. Although this may take some creativity, including bringing parent volunteers on board, when it is addressed it will be key in reducing the likelihood of bullying.

Build a sense of community

The same sense of unity that is present during a rival football game or after a tragedy is the same sense of community that is needed to prevent bullying. When people come together – parents, teachers, administrators and students – to prevent bullying, then the program will be much more effective.

One way to accomplish this sense of community is through regular communication. If a school is not communicating regularly with its parents and students, then the school will be lacking in a sense of unity and togetherness. Letters, social media, meetings, rallies, special events and other activities are just some of the ways to get the message out.

The goal is to get everyone involved to buy in to the need for bullying prevention. If parents are undermining anti-bullying efforts, the prevention program will not be successful. Likewise, if parents are on board, but teachers are reluctant to implement the program, then the program won’t be successful either. The key is that everyone is united in seeing bullying come to an end at school.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/Bullying-Prevention-What-Works-Best.htm

5 Ways to Battle Bullying in School


Fighting the Bully Battle in School

In today's society it's not completely unheard of to turn on the television and hear that another child has taken their life because they were bullied at school. Schools across the globe are trying to battle bullying by adapting a "zero tolerance" policy where bullying is not tolerated at all. Approximately 160,000 children stay home each day due to some type of bullying. How do we get these kids to not be afraid? Here are 5 ways schools can battle bullying.

1. Implement a Bullying Prevention Program

A one time bullying prevention assembly may get the students attention, but will not make an overall difference. To truly make an impact on your students you must implement an effective bullying prevention program. The best programs offer teacher training, the involvement of parents, and assistance to the whole school. The best programs teach the following: Self-regulation, friendship skills, emotion management, and problem-solving skills. For more information on how to adapt a bullying prevention program in your school, visit Olweus Bullying Prevention Program or Steps to Respect.

2. Teach Children to be an Upstander Not a Bystander

Studies show that less than 20 percent of students intervene when they see someone getting bullied. Most of the time bystanders chose not to take action because they are in fear for their own safety, or fear they may become the new target of the bully. As teachers, it is our job to teach our students to be upstanders and intervene when they see a bullying situation taking place. Studies have shown that children want to help, but they just do not know how.

Here are a few ways teachers can encourage students to intervene.

3. Offer Children Prevention Strategies

According to research bullying exists among children as young as five years old! That seems unimaginable but unfortunately it is a fact. Teach young children as little as five the strategies they need to learn to stick up for themselves if they are bullied.

Here are a few prevention strategies for grades K-5.

4. Establish a School Wide Policy

Studies show that in order to reduce bullying in schools, they need to establish a school wide bullying policy. By doing so, this will create a safe and supportive environment that will deter bullying and support academic achievement.

To ensure low bully rates in school, make sure you adopt the following strategies.

5. Educate Parents and Students on How to Report Bullying

There is a substantial amount of evidence that shows the severe reluctance to report bullying. Studies show that this may be due to the fear of retaliation or the fear of being rejected by their peers. The best way to rid schools of bullying is for students to report it.

Here are the steps students should take when reporting a bully.

Source: k6educators.about.com/od/classroommanagement/a/5-Ways-To-Battle-Bullying-In-School.htm

8 Things Kids Should Do When They Witness Bullying


Empower your child to be an effective bystander

In all bullying incidents, there is one person impacted who is often overlooked – the bystander. Although bystanders are not the primary targets of bullying, they are still affected. In fact, bystanders can suffer from guilt, anxiety, depression and feelings of helplessness.

Bystanders can even experience what is known as the bystander effect. The bystander effect occurs when people witness an event like bullying and are less likely to take responsibility to help the victim because they believe someone else will do it.

Even if your children have never been bullied, it’s extremely likely they will witness at least one bullying incident in their lifetime. As a result, it’s important for parents to equip their kids with the ability to recognize that bullying is wrong. It’s also a good idea to give them appropriate tools for responding to bullying.

Not only does an appropriate response to bullying help the victim, but it also can help your child avoid the negative effects of witnessing a bullying incident.

Here are some ways your child can respond to bullying at school.

Avoid joining in or laughing. Sometimes kids will chime in or laugh at a bullying incident in order to avoid becoming the next target. Explain to your children that you expect them not to join in the bullying. Even if they don’t feel brave enough to do something, they can at least avoid giving in to peer pressure.

Walk away. Sometimes bullies are bullying simply to get the attention. And, if they don’t have an audience, they will stop. As a result, sometimes all it takes is to walk away from the incident or to ignore the bully. Still, your child should report the bullying incident to an adult so that it doesn’t happen again.

Tell the bully to stop. Usually if a bully is not getting positive attention from the crowd, he will stop what he is doing. It only takes one or two people to show disapproval and the bullying will end. Tell your children to use this method only if they feel safe in doing so. If the bully poses a physical threat, another option might be to find help.

Get an adult. Encourage your child to calmly walk away from a bullying incident and go find help. This can be done discreetly and keeps your child out of harm’s way.

Use a cell phone to call or text for help. Most tweens and teens have cell phones these days. If your child is one of these kids, tell him that he can always call or text an adult and ask for help. This keeps him from having to say something directly to the bully, but gives him a way to help the victim. Some schools have even implemented help lines where kids can text or call anonymously when someone is being bullied.

Request other bystanders to stand up too. Sometimes it’s safer and more effective if a group of kids confronts the bully. In fact, research shows that when peers intervene in a bullying incident, the bullying stops nearly 60% of the time.

Address cyberbullying. Keep in mind that your child doesn’t have to be physically present to be impacted by bullying. Witnessing a classmate being targeted online can affect your child too. Be sure you teach her how to report cyberbullying. For instance, your child should save the message or postings and report the cyberbullying to an adult. What’s more, many social media sites have mechanisms for reporting abuse. Help her become familiar with how to report harassment.

Support the victim. Sometimes the best way to get involved in a bullying incident is to be a friend to victims. In fact, research shows that having at least one friend can deter bullying. Give your child ideas on how to be a friend to the victim. This might mean walking to class together, sitting with them at lunch and inviting them to social events.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Responses/a/Teach-Kids-How-To-Respond-When-They-Witness-Bullying.htm

8 Ways to Empower Athletes to Prevent Bullying


Ideas for getting athletes to take a stand against school bullying

Bullying almost always happens when other kids are present. But, many kids don’t do anything to stop it. Sometimes they feel like it’s none of their business and sometimes they just don’t want to put themselves out there and risk being ridiculed.

However, student athletes have an advantage when it comes to bullying prevention. Very often, these young athletes are respected and admired by their peers at school. As a result, they can use this influence in a positive way by demonstrating that bullying is not acceptable and it’s not cool. Here are eight ways you can empower athletes at your school to help prevent bullying.

Encourage athletes to avoid joining in. Sometimes kids will laugh at a bullying incident or participate without even thinking about how it makes the victim feel. Other times they participate because of peer pressure. Explain to young athletes that you expect them to be good role models in the school and that they should never join in the bullying.

Highlight the importance of saying something. Sometimes bullies are bullying simply to get attention. And, if they aren’t getting a positive response from the crowd because an athlete has the courage to tell them to stop, they will stop. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to say “that’s not funny” and the incident will be over. But by staying silent, athletes are unknowingly giving their support to the bully. Remind athletes to say something only if they feel safe in doing so. If the bully poses a physical threat, another option might be to find help. Even if an athlete does tell the bully to stop, encourage him to report the bullying incident to an adult so that it doesn’t happen again.

Stress the importance of speaking out against injustices. While you should acknowledge that it might be easier to ignore bullying, it’s not always the best option. Sometimes it takes a strong person to step in and help others overcome bullying. Provide perspective by asking how they would feel if they were being bulling.

Empower athletes to formulate their own ideas on how to prevent bullying. Many times kids know just what is needed to respond to bullying situations. You will be surprised at how creative they can be when given the chance. Be sure to allow enough room for your athletes to formulate plans. They will be much more likely to step into a bullying situation if they are using an idea they are comfortable with.

Encourage them to get other bystanders or athletes to stand up too. Sometimes it’s safer and more effective if a group or a team of kids confronts the bully. In fact, research shows that when peers intervene in a bullying incident, the bullying ends nearly 60% of the time. This should come naturally for some athletes because of the teamwork they have experienced on their sports teams. Usually, athletes are very good at getting people to work together.

Underscore the need to support victims. Sometimes the best way to get involved in bullying prevention is to be a friend to victims and potential victims. In fact, research shows that having at least one friend can deter bullying. Give athletes ideas on how to be a friend to kids who are targeted by bullies. This might mean walking to class together, sitting with them at lunch and inviting them to social events.

Remind them that it’s not a sign of weakness to get an adult. Kids sometimes think they can handle bullying on their own. As a result, kids often don’t report bullying. Be sure to stress to athletes that even though they are strong, they are not invincible. It’s never a sign of weakness to get an adult. Instead, it’s a display of wisdom and courage. They also can call or text for help if needed. Most tweens and teens carry cell phones these days. Equip them with some numbers they can use to report bullying while it’s happening.

Stress the importance of digital etiquette. Kids don’t always know or realize that some things are not appropriate to say online. Be sure to stress to your athletes the key aspects of digital etiquette. Also, instruct them on how to handle cyberbullying if they witness it. For instance, messages or postings can be copied and reported to an adult. What’s more, many social media sites have mechanisms for reporting abuse. Help athletes become familiar with how to report harassment and cyberbullying.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/8-Ways-To-Empower-Athletes-To-Prevent-Bullying.htm

6 Things to Say to Your Kids When They Are Bullied


How every parent should respond to their child’s reports of being bullied

When you hear that your child is being bullied, it can be hard not to have an emotional reaction. But researchers have found that the way you respond to bullying incidents can have a significant impact not only on how your child deals with a bullying incident, but also how quickly she will move beyond it.

If your child is being bullied, there are ways to help her cope and lessen its lasting impact. For instance, focus on offering comfort and support no matter how angry or upset the incident makes you. Remember, kids often don’t tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed, ashamed or confused. You don’t want to discourage her from telling you about the next incident.

Also be sure you practice effective listening and avoid asking questions like “what did you do to cause it?” You also don’t want to interrupt, criticize or minimize what your child has experienced. Instead, focus on what she is saying. It also may help to remember to say these six things to your child.

“It took courage to tell me.” Sometimes, kids keep silent because they are worried that reporting it will cause the bullying to get worse. Other kids are worried about an adult’s response. For instance, they question whether adults will do anything about the bullying. And they worry that they will be encouraged to fight back when they are too scared to do anything about the bullying. As a result, it’s important that you praise your child for speaking up about the bullying. Acknowledge that you know how difficult it is to talk about bullying. Be sure your child knows that reporting bullying is not only brave, but also the best way to overcome bullying incidents.

“This is not your fault.” Sometimes kids feel like they did something to warrant the bullying. So telling an adult just deepens their embarrassment and shame. Remind your child that bullying is a choice and that the responsibility for the bullying lies with bullies, not with your child. Also be sure your child knows that she is not alone. Bullying happens to a lot of people but together you are going to figure out what to do.

“How do you want to handle it?” Asking your child how she wants to handle the bullying demonstrates that you trust her decisions. It also empowers her to move out of a victim mentality and develop a feeling of competency again. It’s never a good idea to try to take over and fix things for your kids. Instead, focus on helping her explore different options for dealing with the situation and then support her in those options.

“I will help you.” While it’s important to allow your child to problem solve when it comes to bullying, don't delay contacting school officials about bullying especially if your child has been threatened, physically harmed or the bullying is escalating. It’s important to bring school personnel into the loop even when it is relational aggression. All types of bullying have consequences and any delay in getting outside help could make things worse for your child.

“Let’s brainstorm how to keep this from happening again.” Getting your child to move beyond bullying incidents and think about the future is key. Aside from practical advice like walking to class with a friend or eating lunch with a buddy, have your child identify where the bullying hot spots are in the school. If at all possible, your child should avoid these areas. Additionally, get your child involved in outside activities and find things that will build self-esteem. But be sure to listen to your child and let her tell you what she thinks might work. The creative things your child comes up with might surprise you. Then, do your best to help her put those ideas into action.

“Who’s got your back?” This may sound like a silly question, but when it comes to bullying, your child’s peers can do a lot to help prevent future bullying incidents. In fact, research has shown that friendships can help prevent bullying. Get your children to think about whom they can count on at school. For instance, is there someone they can walk to class with? Is there someone they can sit with at lunch and on the bus? If your child feels like they don’t have friends to fall back on, look for ways to help her develop friendships. Also, ask her to identify a trusted adult she can turn to at school for help.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Responses/a/6-Things-To-Say-To-Your-Kids-When-They-Are-Bullied.htm

7 Surprising Things Parents Don’t Know About Bullying But Should


How to avoid being surprised by bullying in your child’s life

Bullying is in the news almost every day. As a result, most parents are well-educated about the issue. They talk to their kids about bullying and can identify the warning signs. There are even a large percentage of parents that keep tabs on what their kids are doing online.

But bullying is a complex issue that is constantly evolving. As a result, many parents are shocked to learn that their view of bullying is often incomplete. Here are the top seven things that parents often do not realize about bullying.

Sometimes it’s the kids your child calls “friends” who are the meanest. When parents think of bullies, they often envision stereotypes of bullies including the loner who hates the world or the mean girl that picks on those without as much social clout. Often the bully they imagine is far-removed from their child.

As a result, parents are often shocked to learn that the kids bullying their children are the ones they spend a lot of time – the ones they call friends. Be sure you are talking with your kids about what constitutes a healthy friendship and what respect looks like. Help your kids identify if the kids they call friends are truly friends.

Any child is capable of bullying and mean behavior, including yours. No parent wants to learn that her child is bullying another child. But you have to recognize that it is possible. Even kids from good homes can engage in bullying if they give in to peer pressure. They also may engage in bullying if they trying to fit in or climb the social ladder.

Be sure you are talking to your kids about respectful behavior. And look for opportunities to impart empathy and increase social and emotional learning in their lives. If you do discover your child is bullying, take action right away. Implement appropriate discipline for the bullying behavior and monitor the situation to be sure it doesn’t happen again.

Not all mean behaviors constitute bullying. There has been so much information in the news about bullying, that the message has become diluted. Consequently, parents often label every unkind word or action as bullying. While these types of behaviors are never appropriate and just as hurtful, it is important to distinguish between bullying behavior and unkind behavior. It’s also important to understand the difference between bullying and normal conflict.

Bullying consists of a power imbalance between the victim and the bully. It also is intentional and repeated. Name-calling in particular can be a confusing type of bullying. Calling a person a name one time does not constitute bullying, but calling a person a name every day or over a period of time is bullying. Be sure you have established that your child is truly experiencing bullying before you label it as such.

Kids don’t share as much as you think they do. Even kids who are open with their parents often leave out details. The reasons for the lack of disclosure are varied. But, as a parent, you need to realize that when your child tells you about a bullying incident she experienced or one that she witnessed, she may leave out some details. Additionally, kids notoriously minimize what they are experiencing especially if they think you will freak out.

Build a trust with your child that promotes more sharing. For instance, allow your kids to have a say in how they want the situation handled. Also, don’t overreact to what they are telling you. Try to simply listen and gather information. And be sure to empathize with what they are experiencing even if you don’t understand it or feel that it’s not that big of a deal.

Teens often model what they see others doing. Begin by looking at yourself. Are you doing the very things you are telling your kids not to do? For example, are you gossiping with your friends about another mother? Are you making fun of another dad who needs to lose weight? Are you making fun of someone's child? If you are doing these things, your child will eventually do the same things.

Additionally, take a close look at your child’s friends. If their group looks like a clique, talk to your child about that. If you see girls in the group displaying mean behavior, try to help your child widen her circle of friends. And if you see the boys your son is friends with making inappropriate remarks about girls, widen your son’s group of friends. Remember, as much as you encourage your child to be a good person, to stand up for others and to treat others with respect, it is very hard for him to do that if the people he surrounds himself with are not behaving in the same way.

Most kids think of bullying as “drama” and often do not use the word bullying. When most kids think about bullying, they imagine physical bullying. They often don’t consider the other forms of bullying as anything other than drama. It’s important for parents to remember this when talking with their kids. If your children are saying there is a lot of drama at school or that kids are messing with them, ask questions. Find out what they mean. Your definition of bullying and drama is likely very different from your child’s definition.

Kids are very creative when it comes to bullying. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you will hear of a new method kids are using to target others. Be sure to read about bullying on a regular basis and stay familiar with the apps kids are using. More and more apps are hitting the market that kids are utilizing for cyberbullying. Additionally, be sure your kids are talking to you before downloading new apps. Then, check them out together.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Basics/fl/7-Surprising-Things-Parents-Donrsquot-Know-About-Bullying-But-Should.htm

8 Ways to Avoid Raising a Bully


Tips on raising kind, empathetic and bully-free kids

No parent wants her child to be the school bully. In fact, there is nothing worse than getting a call from a teacher or an administrator indicating that your child has been bullying other kids at school. Even if you believe your child would never bully another person, it is important to take preventative measures.

The truth is, bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Gone are the stereotypes that bullies are big, burly kids from the wrong side of the tracks. Any child is capable of bullying others, even those with no risk factors. But, there are some things you can do to make sure your child does not intimidate, harass or manipulate other kids. Here are eight ways to avoid raising a bully.

Take an interest in your children. This seems simple enough but many parents don’t actively engage in their child’s life. Instead, they spend a lot more time directing and correcting than they do listening and getting to know their kids. In fact, research shows that there are more protective factors among parents who share ideas with their kids than parents who feel frequently bothered by their kids. So take the time to find out who your children are apart from who you want them to be.

Teach your child to respect others. Be sure your child knows that all people are different and that your child needs to respond to everyone with kindness. Also, set clear expectations on how to treat people, especially those who are different in some way. Ensure that your children know that even if they don’t like someone, this does not give them the right to be mean. Every person deserves to be treated courteously.

Don’t ignore sibling aggression. While it is normal for siblings to argue and tease one another, chronic mean behavior, both verbal and physical, should never be ignored. Many times, kids who engage in sibling bullying at home will bully others at school. Other times, the non-aggressive sibling is transferring that behavior to other kids at school. Even if the bullying is limited to the home, sibling bullying should be addressed because it has significant consequences.

Get to know your child’s friends. Invite your child’s friends over to your house or invite them to attend events with your family. Even offer to carpool from time to time. You will be amazed what you will learn about your children, their friends and the school from the front seat of your vehicle. And if your child develops a friendship with a bully or a mean girl, be sure you talk to your child about what is respectful and kind and what isn’t. But be careful about asserting too much control over your child’s choices because it could backfire. Try to guide your child instead of making demands. In the meantime, keep an eye out for mean behavior. Remember, your children’s friends often have a huge influence on their behavior and peer pressure is a very strong force when it comes to bullying.

Talk with your kids about bullying. Consistent communication is the key to good parenting and it is especially important when it comes to bullying prevention. Remember, you can’t shelter your kids from every malicious influence, but you can prepare them for tough situations by talking with them about bullying. Be sure your children know that life is full of disagreements. But make sure they know how to handle these situations productively. Hitting, name-calling and blaming are never the answers.

Foster empathy. Many bullies lack empathy. Work with your children to recognize how their behavior affects others. Be sure to ask your child how he would feel in a similar situation. Also, point out when you see other people hurting and encourage your child to offer help or assistance in some way. Another way to develop empathy is to help your child process emotions. Many times, understanding how others feel begins with knowing how he feels first. If your child can identify his own feelings, he will be better equipped to understand the feelings of others.

Know the signs of bullying. Not only is it important to know the signs of bullying to prevent your child from bullying others but, it’s also important for your own child’s health and safety. Sometimes kids bully others because they too are being bullied. Be sure you know how to stop the bully-victim cycle if you find your child in this situation.

Put an end to bullying behavior immediately. If you find your child is a bully or your child is a cyberbully, take steps to put an end to the behavior at once. Be sure you take swift action with appropriate consequences. And if the bullying was reported to the school, work with administrators to enforce any disciplinary action that your child receives. As difficult as it is, it is important that your children receive consequences for bullying behavior. Do not try to shelter them or they will never learn from the experience.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Bullies/a/8-Ways-To-Avoid-Raising-A-Bully.htm

10 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bullying
Test yourself to see how much you know about bullying


Most people have an established set of beliefs and ideas about bullying. But sometimes those beliefs are not always based on facts. Here is a list of the 10 most common myths and misconceptions about bullying.

Myth #1: All bullies are loners and have no friends.

There are actually many different types of bullies. So it is a mistake to assume that all bullies are the same. Some kids bully others because they too have been bullied while others bully to climb the social ladder. Still, other kids bully people simply because they can.

Frequently, bullying is motivated by the desire for social power. In other words, the bully is a social climber and wants to increase his or her status at school. Bullying is viewed as effective because it controls and manipulates the social order at school.

Myth #2: Bullies struggle with self-esteem.

Research shows that not all bullies pick on others because they feel bad about themselves. Instead, some of the most aggressive kids are also confident and socially successful. They have realized that bullying helps them gain more attention, have a wider social circle and maintain power at school.

In fact, the rewards kids get from gossiping, spreading rumors and ostracizing others, can be significant. For this reason, it is extremely difficult to get bullies to stop, especially in middle school.

Myth #3: Being bullied makes you stronger and helps build character.

Bullying in no way builds character. By contrast, it tears it down and increase’s the target’s vulnerabilities. Kids who are bullied suffer emotionally and socially.

They tend to feel lonely and isolated. And, they may struggle with self-esteem and experience depression and moodiness. Bullying also leads to struggles in school and more illnesses. They may even contemplate suicide.

Myth #4: Kids are bullied because they have a victim personality.

While it is true that some characteristics such as being shy or withdrawn, can increase the chances that a child will be bullied, kids are not bullied because of their personality. Kids are bullied because the bully made a choice to target them.

When people try to explain bullying by indicating that a child has a victim personality, they are blaming the victim for the bullying. The blame and responsibility for the bullying falls on the bully, not the target. Additionally, labeling kids by saying they have a victim personality, lets the bully off the hook and implies that if there were something different about the victim, the bullying would have never happened.

Myth #5: Bullying isn’t a big deal, it’s just kid

Contrary to popular belief, bullying is not a normal part of growing up. And it’s a big deal. Bullying can have serious consequences. Aside from affecting the target’s academic performance, mental health and physical well-being, bullying also can lead to suicide. What’s more, some of the emotional scars from bullying can last a lifetime. For instance, studies show that adults who were bullied as kids often have lower self-esteem and struggle with depression.

Myth #6: Kids who are bullied need to learn how to handle the situation on their own.

Adults often brush off bullying with a shrug. The idea is that kids should “just deal with it.” But kids cannot handle bullying situations on their own. If they could, they probably would. Anytime an adult is aware of a bullying situation, they have an obligation to address it some way. Without adult intervention, the bullying will continue.

Myth #7: My children would tell me if they were being bullied.

Unfortunately, research shows that kids often keep silent about bullying. While there are a number of reasons why kids don’t tell, most of the time they are either too embarrassed to talk about it or too worried that the situation will get worse.

As a result, it is very important that parents and teachers are able to spot the signs of bullying. It’s never a good idea to count on kids to keep you in the loop. Even kids with excellent relationships with their parents will keep silent about bullying.

Myth #8: If my child is bullied, the first step in addressing bullying is to call the bully’s parents.

In most cases, it is not a good idea to contact the bully’s parents. Not only will a conversation likely get heated, but it also might make a situation worse. Instead, the best course of action is to start with the teacher or an administrator when reporting bullying. Most schools have an anti-bullying policy that outlines how to deal with bullies. Make sure you request a face-to-face meeting and follow up to be sure the issue is being addressed.

Myth #9: Bullying doesn’t happen at my child's school.

When a shocking story about bullying makes the headlines, it's easy to adopt the mindset that something like that would never happen at your child’s school. The unfortunate truth is that bullying happens everywhere and not recognizing that could put your child at risk. Instead, be on the lookout for signs of bullying and keep the lines of communication open with your child. Bullying happens everywhere regardless of race, religion or socio-economic status.

Myth #10: Bullying is easy to spot.

Bullies are smart. They know where teachers and other adults are most of the time. As a result, bullying frequently happens when adults aren’t around to witness it. For instance, bullying often takes place on the playground, in the bathroom, on the bus, in a busy hallway and in the locker room.

Additionally, bullies are talented chameleons. In fact, the most relationally aggressive kids are the ones who are able to appear charming and charismatic on cue. What’s more, these children are smart socially. They use the same skills to manipulate teachers, administrators and parents that they use to wound their peers. For this reason, adults need to look to bystanders for help in reporting bullying.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Basics/a/10-Common-Myths-And-Misconceptions-About-Bullying.htm

10 Reasons Why Kids Are Bullied


Discover the top 10 ways bullies choose their targets

When it comes to understanding why bullies target specific kids, it’s important to move past the usual stereotypes. As a society, kids have been taught that weak, overweight or socially challenged individuals are worthy of scorn and disregard. As a result, they feel free to bully anyone who falls into these categories.

People also wrongly believe targets of bullying somehow bring bullying on themselves. Their believe if the targets were stronger or different in some way then they wouldn’t be bullied. They also believe that if targets want to be accepted by society and free from bullying they should change.

Meanwhile, other people wrongly assume that targets deserve the bullying. They feel that targets are too sensitive, unstable or whiners and that if they were stronger they wouldn’t be bullied.

But in reality the problem doesn’t lie with the victims of bullying. Anyone can be a target of bullying. In fact, bullying has more to do with the choice of the bully and less to do with some defect in the target. And, the responsibility for bullying always lies with the bully. So, why are individuals bullied?

There are a variety of reasons why bullies target some people including everything from personality characteristics to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here are some common characteristics that can lead to bullying.

Targets may be good at what they do. A lot of times kids will be bullied because they get a lot of positive attention for something. This could be everything from excelling in sports, making the cheerleading squad or getting the editor’s position on the school newspaper. Bullies target these students because they either feel inferior or they worry that their abilities are being overshadowed by the target’s abilities.

Targets may be intelligent, determined and creative. At school, they may be the students that go that extra mile on schoolwork. Or, they learn very quickly and seem to be moving quicker through projects and assignments than other students. Gifted students typically fall into this category and are often targeted for being smart.

Targets may have personal vulnerabilities. Children who are introverted, anxious or submissive are more likely to be bullied than kids who are extroverted and assertive. In fact, some researchers believe that kids who lack self-esteem and security may attract kids who are prone to bully. Finally, there’s also some evidence indicating that kids suffering from depression or stress-related conditions may also be more likely to be bullied.

Targets may have few or no friends. Many victims of bullying tend to have fewer friends than children who do not experience bullying. What’s more, they may be rejected for some reason by their peers and usually spend lunch and recess alone. Because this tendency to be alone begins before these kids become targets, parents and other adults can help prevent bullying in these kids’ lives by helping them develop friendships.

Targets may be popular or well liked. Sometimes bullies target popular or well-liked children because of the threat they pose to the bully. Mean girls are especially likely to target another girl who threatens her status or social standing.

Targets have physical features that attract attention. Whether a target is short or tall, fat or thin bullies can target them. Almost any type of physical characteristic that is different or unique can attract the attention of bullies including wearing glasses, having acne, having a large nose or having ears that stick out.

Targets have an illness or disability. Oftentimes, bullies target special needs children. This can include children who have Asperger’s, autism, ADHD, dyslexia or any other condition that sets them apart. What’s more, kids with conditions like food allergies, asthma, down’s syndrome and other conditions also can be targeted by bullies.

Targets have a different sexual orientation. More often than not, kids are bullied for being gay. In fact, some of the most brutal bullying incidents have involved children who are bullied for their sexual orientation.

Targets have different religious or cultural beliefs. One example of bullying because of religious or cultural beliefs includes the treatment Muslim students received after the 9/11 tragedy. But any student can be bullied for their religious beliefs. Both Christian students and Jewish students are often ridiculed for their beliefs and practices as well.

Targets belong to a different racial group. Sometimes kids will bully others because they are of a different race. For instance, Caucasian students may single out African-American students and bully them. Or African-American students may single out Caucasian students and bully them. It happens with all races and in all directions. No race is exempt from being bullied and no race is exempt from having bullies.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Victims/a/10-Reasons-Why-Kids-Are-Bullied.htm

6 Reasons Why Workplace Bullies Target People


Understanding why people are bullied at work

If you have experienced workplace bullying, you may be asking yourself “why me?” And you are not alone. An estimated 54 million Americans have been bullied at some point in their career. Below are some of the common characteristics of people who are targeted by workplace bullies.

Targets are skilled workers. Many times, people are bullied at work because they receive a lot of positive attention for their work. Perhaps you are intelligent, determined and creative and regularly contribute new and innovative ideas. Or maybe you regularly go the extra mile and gain recognition for your hard work. Or maybe you move through projects more quickly than other workers and always meet deadlines while others are struggling. All these things attract the attention of workplace bullies. As a result, they will target skilled workers because they either feel inferior or they worry that their own work is being overshadowed by the target’s work and abilities. Bully bosses, in particular, will target skilled workers and either steal the credit or undermine the target’s work.

Workplace Discrimination

Targets are well liked or popular. It is a myth that all victims of bullying are loners and outcasts with no friends or social connections. Often, it is the popular and well-liked workers that are most frequently targeted by workplace bullies. Bullies believe these workers pose a threat to their own popularity and social status at work. Office mean girls in particular are likely to target another woman who threatens their status or social standing.

Targets are good people. Often, victims of workplace bullying are the most caring, social and collaborative on the team. To a workplace bully, these characteristics drain the power they have at work. Teambuilding is the antithesis of what a bully wants. Bullies want to be the ones in control and the ones calling all the shots. Targets of workplace bullying also may be extremely ethical and honest. For instance, whistleblowers that expose fraudulent practices are frequently bullied by others at work to keep quiet.

Targets are non-confrontational or vulnerable. Employees who are introverted, anxious or submissive are more likely to be bullied at work than those who are extroverted and assertive. In fact, research has shown that if adults work to build their self-esteem and assertiveness skills, they might diminish the likelihood that they will be targeted by workplace bullies. There’s also some evidence that depression and other stress-related conditions might attract the attention of bullies. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, it is important to be treated. Talk to your health care provider about your symptoms. These conditions should never be left untreated.

Targets are viewed stereotypically or prejudicially. In other words, workers can be targeted for their gender, their age, their race, their sexual preference and their religion. They also may be bullied because they have a disability or a disease. Whatever the reason, workplace bullies single out and target people who are different from them in some way. They also tend to be discriminatory in some way.

Targets have physical features that attract attention. Unfortunately, adults often bully others for the same reasons kids target others in elementary school. Whether you are short or tall, fat or thin, have a large chest or no chest at all workplace bullies will find a way to exploit your appearance. In fact, almost any type of physical characteristic that is different or unique can attract the attention of bullies. This includes wearing glasses, having a large nose, having ears that protrude and even having adult acne.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Victims/a/6-Reasons-Why-Workplace-Bullies-Target-People.htm

Workplace Bullying: Bullying Facts and Figures


What is Workplace Bullying?

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

Verbal abuse

One isolated incident does not constitute workplace bullying. Bullying behavior is generally:

Workplace bullying is on the rise. While statistics vary, some studies reveal that nearly half of all American workers have been affected by workplace bullying, either as a target or as a witness to abusive behavior against a co-worker. Law firms and the legal workplace are, unfortunately, a breeding ground for bullies. The fast-paced, adversarial nature of litigation and other legal work attracts bullying personalities. Bullying personalities are typically over-ambitious, opportunistic, combative, powerful and competitive.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can take many forms. It encompasses personal attacks, such as yelling, threats and rumors, as well as manipulation tactics, such as isolation, sabotage, micromanagement and unrealistic deadlines. This list of various types of bullying outlines the various manifestations of workplace harassment.

Bullying Stories

These firsthand accounts of bullying and harassment in the workplace detail the stress, strife and devastation that workplace harassment can cause. Bullying takes a toll on the bully target in the form of stress-related health complications ranging from hypertension and auto-immune disorders to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. A bullying environment stresses all employees, not just the target, and increases the rate of physical and emotional illnesses. Employers also pay a price for bullying in the form of lost productivity, increased absenteeism, rising health insurance costs and higher employee turnover.

Combating Bullying and Harassment

If you are a victim of workplace bullying or harassment or work in an abusive work environment, you should take action to combat bullying behavior. Most importantly, "Don't let the bully affect your self esteem. Figure out if there is anything useful in the information the bully is providing. Even mean people might have a good idea now and then," states Dr. Robyn Odegaard, owner of a speaking/consulting company and the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign. Dr. Odegaard also recommends seeking assistance from human resources or your co-workers and remembering that you always have the option to leave. For additional strategies on how to deal with workplace bullying, review this advice from workplace experts and employment attorneys from around the globe.

Bullying Legislation

Currently several states have reviewed and considered healthy workplace or anti-bullying legislation but no formal bill has been passed as of yet at the state or federal level, according to Angela J. Reddock, Esq., workplace expert and managing partner of the Reddock Law Group in Los Angeles, California. "Many employers have started to more seriously address the issue by placing strong anti-bullying policies in place," she says. For a detailed status of anti-bullying legislation in the United States and an analysis of relevant case law, see this overview of bullying legislation.

Since workplace bullying is not addressed by existing law, many groups advocate the need for additional laws regarding workplace harassment and abusive conduct. Various models for remedying workplace bullying have been proposed such as:

Source: legalcareers.about.com/od/careertrends/a/Workplace-Bullying-Bullying-Facts-And-Figures.htm

What Are the Effects of Workplace Bullying?


Learn how workplace bullying impacts targets, companies and co-workers

For many, the workplace has become a haven for bullies. They berate people, steal credit, exclude others, make snide remarks, threaten others and dole out unfair criticism. And, the targets of this type of harassment are suffering. Many start each week with a pit of anxiety in their stomachs and count down the days until the weekend or their next vacation. In the meantime, they also typically deal with a host of other negative effects.

Effects on Targets of Bullying

Workplace bullying can cause extensive health problems for employees including a number of physical and psychological illnesses and injuries. Although individual responses vary from person to person, people who are bullied at work may experience stress, anxiety, panic attacks and trouble sleeping. They may have higher blood pressure, ulcers and other stress-related illnesses.

There also is some evidence that bullied workers have trouble making decisions, an incapacity to work or concentrate, a loss of self-esteem and become less productive. Part of this loss of productivity is brought on by a loss of motivation, stress and health complaints, but the other part is comprised of time spent trying to defend themselves, avoiding the bully, networking for support, ruminating about the situation and planning how to deal with situation.

What’s more, targets of bullying feel a sense of isolation and may struggle with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and may even contemplate suicide. In fact, workplace bullying can leave a person so traumatized that they feel powerless, disoriented, confused and helpless. They even feel paralyzed and unable to do anything about the situation.

Furthermore, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Manitoba found that workplace bullying inflicts more harm on employees than sexual harassment. In fact, bullied employees showed more job stress, less commitment to the company and higher levels of anxiety and anger than sexually harassed employees.

Meanwhile, another study found that people who are bullied in the workplace and those who witness it, are more likely to need medication. In fact, researchers at the University of Helsinki Department of Public Health found that targets of bullying and those who witness it are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications such as antidepressants, tranquilizers or sleeping pills.

Effects on the Employers of Bullies

Workplace bullying also can have detrimental effects and costs for the employer. Aside from disrupting the work environment and impacting worker morale it also can reduce productivity, create a hostile work environment, promote absenteeism and impact workers compensation claims. Sometimes bullying can even result in legal issues for the company.

What’s more, the impact of bullying is not limited to the bully and the target. It also affects co-workers, clients, customers, business associates, family and friends. For instance, Canadian researchers found that employees who witness bullying are more likely to leave their jobs than those who are being victimized.

Other effects on the company include:

How Employers Can Respond

As a result, it is always in an organization’s best interest to confront workplace bullying and maintain a bullying-free workplace. In fact, preventing workplace bullying is much more cost effective than having to intervene or mediate during an established pattern of bullying. It’s also a good idea to train managers, supervisors and other authority figures because the majority of workplace bullying comes from bullying bosses.

Companies should strive to create an environment that cultivates teamwork, cooperation and positive interaction. Remember, if bullying exists, these other elements cannot exist. Therefore, for companies to be productive and successful, it is important that they work to eradicate bullying from the workplace.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Effects/a/What-Are-The-Effects-Of-Workplace-Bullying.htm

How to Confront Workplace Bullying


Tips for dealing with the workplace bully

When it comes to workplace bullying, there are no quick fixes. But there are some things you can do to confront the behavior. The top three things you can do include taking care of yourself, addressing the bullying and seeking outside support. Here are some ideas on how this can be accomplished.

1. Take Care of Yourself

Learn to recognize bullying. When you realize that you are being bullied, you will be less likely to blame yourself or take responsibility for something that isn’t your fault. Remember, bullying is about a choice the bully makes, not something defective in you.

Realize that you can change your response. Although it is impossible to change someone who doesn’t want to change, you can change how you respond. Take some time to think about how you want to handle the situation. Do you want to search for a new job? Do you want to report the incident? Do you want to request a transfer? Only you can decide how you want to address the situation.

Learn how to set boundaries. Be upfront and direct with the bully about how you plan to address his behavior. Learn to be firm, confident and assertive. For instance, you could tell the bully if he continues to threaten you with job loss and to sabotage your work, that you will report his behavior to human resources.

2. Address the Issue

Keep a journal. Be sure to document any improper behavior. This information will help managers or outside organizations take action. Be specific about what you write down. Include the date, the time, the location, the incident that occurred or words that were said and any witnesses to the event. It also may be helpful to include how it made you feel or how it affected you. You also should record details about complaints that you filed and the responses you have received.

Create a paper trail. If you notice your work is being sabotaged, be sure you create a paper trail outlining what you are working on and what you have accomplished. If a bully is trying to force you out or squash your chances for promotion, the best way to fight back is to make sure others are kept abreast of your projects. Use e-mails, activity reports and other tools to share with your co-workers and supervisors what you are doing. Be humble in emphasizing your accomplishments, but be sure people are aware of the work you are doing.

Report incidents. Being silent about bullying gives the bully more power and control over you. When you feel ready, you need to report the bullying to a manager, supervisor, or another person in a position of authority. Remain calm and keep your emotions in check when sharing details about the bullying. Overly distraught complaints are distracting and may make the message confusing. Also, be consistent with details. It may be helpful to write out what you want to say ahead of time.

Keep your report relevant. In other words, share only specific details about the bully’s behavior. Don’t make assumptions or exaggerate details. And don’t criticize the bully as a person or call him names in the meeting. It’s the inappropriate behavior that needs to be addressed. Keep the focus there.

3. Seek Outside Assistance

Find help for your situation. Report the bullying to the bully’s manager or supervisor. Bullying is a big issue that cannot be handled alone. If the bully is the owner or the manager, consider filing a complaint. Depending on how you are being bullied, you may find protection with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the Department of Labor, the American’s with Disabilities Act, the local police or even a local attorney.

Surround yourself with empowering people. Find people who can understand what you are experiencing and who will provide support. It helps to talk about what you are experiencing, so don’t keep it inside.

Seek professional help or counseling. Being targeted by a bully can have serious consequences. It can affect your mood, your self-esteem and even your physical health. Be sure to find some outside assistance, especially if you notice you are feeling depressed.

Remember that you are not alone. Workplace bullying is widespread issue. Don’t let what you are experiencing define you. Instead, find a support group in your area or start one of your own.
Source: bullying.about.com/od/Responses/a/How-To-Confront-Workplace-Bullying.htm

Overcome Your Fear of Confrontation and Conflict


Build Your Conflict Resolution Skills

A former colleague holds complete conversations in his head with people with whom he is angry. He rarely speaks directly with the other person. This anger in his mind continues to build because of his frustration, yet he never lets the other person know that he is frustrated and subsequently angry.

His conflict avoidance almost cost him his marriage because he didn't let his wife into the conversations he was having with her; but by himself. It was almost too late by the time he did bring her into the real conversation.

His need to avoid confrontation is so strong that he has a safe confrontation in his mind and feels that he has dealt with the issue. As you can imagine, this doesn't work - especially for the other person involved.

Are you guilty of holding mental conflicts and confrontations?

Many people are uncomfortable when it comes to confrontation. I understand the concept of having the conversation in your head; so you can plan out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Sometimes these mental conversations are enough to settle the issue, as you realize you are making too much out of a simple situation.

I know that I have spent hours lying in bed at night having conversations with people with whom I am angry and frustrated. Not only does this practice disrupt your sleep, your attitude and your health, it never really resolves the issue, and is potentially damaging to your relationships.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that you need to confront every action. If you have the conversation once in your head, don't worry about it. If it comes back and you have it again, perhaps start thinking about holding a real conversation.

By the third in your head confrontation, you need to start planning how you will deal with the real confrontation, because it looks as if you are going to need to do that.

How to Hold a Real, Necessary Conflict or Confrontation

Start by preparing yourself to confront the real issue. Be able to state the issue in one (or two), non-emotional, factual based sentences.

For example, assume you want to confront your coworker for taking all of the credit for the work that the two of you did together on a project. Instead of saying, "You took all the credit, blah, blah, blah..." and venting your frustration, which is what you might say in your mind, rephrase your approach using the above guidelines.

Say instead, "It looks as if I played no role in the Johnson account. My name does not appear anywhere on the document, nor I have been given credit anywhere that I can see."

(I've used additional communication techniques such as I language as well in this statement. Notice that I avoided using the words I feel because that is an emotional statement, without proof and facts. The facts in this statement cannot be disputed, but an I feel statement is easy for your coworker to refute.)

Make your initial statement and stop talking.

When the person you are confronting responds, allow them to respond. It's a human tendency, but don't make the mistake of adding to your initial statement, to further justify the statement.

Defending why you feel the way you do will generally just create an argument. Say what you want to say (the confrontation), then just allow the other person to respond.

Especially since you've probably held the conversation in your head a few times, you may think you know how the other person is going to respond. But, it's a mistake to jump to that point before they have the opportunity to respond. Resist the temptation to say anything else at this point. Let them respond.

Avoid arguing during the confrontation.

Confrontation does not mean fight. It means: state what you have say. Listen to what they have to say. Many times it actually ends right there.

Do you need to prove the other person right or wrong? Does someone have to take blame? Get your frustration off your chest, and move on.

Figure out the conflict resolution you want before the confrontation.

If you approached your coworker with the initial statement, "You took all the credit, blah, blah, blah..." her response is likely going to be quite defensive. Perhaps she'll say something like, "Yes, you have been given credit. I said both of our names to the boss just last week."

If you already know what you are looking for in the confrontation, this is where you move the conversation. Don't get into an argument about whether she did or didn't mention anything to the boss last week - that isn't really the issue and don't let it distract you from accomplishing the goal of the confrontation.

Your response could be, "I would appreciate if in the future that we use both of our names on any documentation, and include each other in all of the correspondence about the project."

Focus on the real issue of the confrontation.

The other party will either agree or disagree. Keep to the issue at this point, and avoid all temptation to get into an argument. Negotiate, but don't fight.

The issue is you aren't receiving credit, and you want your name on the documentation. That's it. It isn't about blame, about who is right or wrong or anything other than your desired resolution.

You will rarely look forward to confrontation; you may never become completely comfortable with, or even skilled in, confrontation. However, it is important that you say something when you are frustrated and angry. If you can't stand up for yourself, who will?
Source: humanresources.about.com/od/conflictresolution/a/confrontation.htm

Fight for What's Right: Ten Tips to Encourage Meaningful Conflict


Four Tips to Encourage Meaningful Work Conflict

Conflict avoidance is most frequently the topic when conflict in organizations is discussed. Conflict resolution - as quickly as possible - is the second most frequent topic. This is bad news because meaningful work conflict is a cornerstone in healthy, successful organizations. Conflict is necessary for effective problem solving and for effective interpersonal relationships.

These statements may seem unusual to you. If you are like many people, you avoid conflict in your daily work life. You see only the negative results of conflict. Especially in the Human Resources profession, or as a manager or supervisor, you may even find that you spend too much of your precious time mediating disputes between coworkers.

Why People Don't Participate in Appropriate Work Conflict

There are many reasons why people don't stand up for their beliefs and bring important differences to the table. (In organizations, this translates into people nodding in unison when the manager asks if the group agrees, but then complaining about the decision later.) Conflict is usually uncomfortable. Many people don't know how to participate in and manage work conflict in a positive way.

In a poorly carried out conflict, people sometimes get hurt. They become defensive because they feel under attack personally. People have to work with certain people every single day, so they are afraid conflict will harm these necessary ongoing relationships.

Why Appropriate Work Conflict Is Important

Effectively managed work conflict has many positive results for your organization, however. When people can disagree with each other and lobby for different ideas, your organization is healthier. Disagreements often result in a more thorough study of options and better decisions and direction. According to Peter Block, in The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work (Compare Prices), if you are unwilling to participate in organizational politics and conflict, you will never accomplish the things that are important to you at work, your work mission. And, that would be tragic.

So, knowing how to raise issues and participate in meaningful work conflict is key to your success in work and in life. These tips will help.

Tips for Participating in Healthy Work Conflict

Create a work environment in which healthy conflict is encouraged by setting clear expectations. Foster an organizational culture or environment in which differences of opinion are encouraged. Make differences the expectation and healthy debate about issues and ideas the norm. Placing emphasis on the common goals people share within your organization can help. People have a tendency to focus on the differences experienced with another rather than focusing on the beliefs and goals they have in common with each other.

If organizational goals are aligned and all employees are moving in the same direction, healthy work conflict about how to get there is respected. If you are a manager or team leader, do this by asking others to express their opinion before you speak your own. Tell people that you want them to speak up when they disagree or have an opinion that is different from others in the group.

Reward, recognize, and thank people who are willing to take a stand and support their position. You can publicly thank people who are willing to disagree with the direction of a group. Your recognition system, bonus system, pay and benefits package, and performance management process should all reward the employees who practice personal organizational courage and pursue appropriate work conflict.

These employees speak up to disagree or propose a different approach even in the face of pressure from the group to agree. They lobby passionately for their cause or belief, yet, when all the debating is over, they support the decisions made by the team just as passionately.

If you experience little dissention in your group, examine your own actions. If you believe you want different opinions expressed and want to avoid "group think," and you experience little disagreement from staff, examine your own actions. Do you, non-verbally or verbally, send the message that it is really not okay to disagree? Do you put employees in a "hot seat" when they express an opinion? Do they get "in trouble" if they are wrong or a predicted solution fails to work?

Look inside yourself personally, and even seek feedback from a trusted advisor or staff member, if the behavior of your team tells you that you are inadvertently sending the wrong message.

Expect people to support their opinions and recommendations with data and facts. Divergent opinions are encouraged, but the opinions are arrived at through the study of data and facts. Staff members are encouraged to collect data that will illuminate the process or problem.

Create a group norm that conflict around ideas and direction is expected and that personal attacks are not tolerated. Any group that comes together regularly to lead an organization or department, solve a problem, or to improve or create a process would benefit from group norms. These are the relationship guidelines or rules group members agree to follow. They often include the expectation that all members will speak honestly, that all opinions are equal, and that each person will participate. These guidelines also set up the expectation that personal attacks are not tolerated whereas healthy debate about ideas and options is encouraged.

Provide employees with training in healthy conflict and problem solving skills. Sometimes people fail to stand up for their beliefs because they don't know how to do so comfortably. Your staff will benefit from education and training in interpersonal communication, problem solving, conflict resolution, and particularly, non-defensive communication. Goal setting, meeting management, and leadership will also help employees exercise their freedom of speech.

Look for signs that a conflict about a solution or direction is getting out of hand. Exercise your best observation skills and notice whether tension is becoming unhealthy. Listen for criticism of fellow staff members, an increase in the number and severity of "digs" or putdowns, and negative comments about the solution or process. Are secret meetings increasing?

In one of my client companies, staff members hold email wars in which the nastiness of the emails grows and the list of staff members copied can include the whole company. If you observe the tension and conflict is endangering your workplace harmony, hold a conflict resolution meeting with the combatants immediately. Yes, you do need to mediate. It's okay to have positive conflict but not to allow negative conflict to destroy your work environment.

Hire people who you believe will add value to your organization with their willingness to problem solve and debate. Behavioral interview questions will help you assess the assertiveness of your potential employees. You want to hire people who are willing to act boldly and who are unconcerned about whether they are well-liked. Look and listen for situations in which the potential employee has stood up for his beliefs, worked with a team to solve problems, or pushed an unpopular agenda at work. Yes, you want a harmonious workplace but not at the sacrifice of everyone's success.

Make executive compensation dependent upon the success of the organization as a whole as well as the accomplishment of individual goals. Pay executives part of their compensation based on the success of the total organization. This ensures that people are committed to the same goals and direction. They will look for the best approach, the best idea, and the best solution, not just the one that will benefit their own area of interest. This will also ensure that the people in their organizations spend their time problem solving and solution seeking rather than fingerpointing, blaming, and looking to see who is guilty when a problem occurs or a commitment is missed.

If you are using all of the first nine tips, and healthy work conflict is not occurring ... You need to sit down with the people who report to you directly and with their direct reporting staff and ask them why. Some positive, problem solving discussion might allow your group to identify and rectify any problem that stands in the way of open, healthy, positive, constructive work conflict and debate. The future success of your organization depends upon your staff's willingness to participate in healthy work conflict, so this discussion is worth your time.
Source: humanresources.about.com/od/conflictresolution/a/fightforright.htm

How to Reduce Resistance to Change


Resistance to change is a natural reaction when employees are asked, well, to change. Change is uncomfortable and requires new ways of thinking and doing. People have trouble developing a vision of what life will look like on the other side of a change. So, they tend to cling to the known rather than embrace the unknown.

Change produces anxiety and uncertainty. Employees may lose their sense of security. They may prefer the status quo. The range of reactions, when change is introduced, is immense and unpredictable. No employee is left unaffected in most changes. As a result, resistance to change often occurs when change is introduced.

Resistance to change is best viewed as a normal reaction. Even the most cooperative, supportive employees may experience resistance. So, don't introduce change believing that you will experience nothing but resistance or that resistance will be severe. Instead, introduce change believing that your employees want to cooperate, make the best of each work situation, and that they will fully and enthusiastically support the changes as time goes by.

By your thinking and your approach, you can affect the degree to which resistance to change bogs the change down. You can reduce natural resistance to change by the actions you take and how you involve the employees who will be asked to change.

In a best case scenario, every employee has the opportunity to talk about, provide input to, and impact the change. Rationally, this depends on how big the change is and how many people the change will affect. In a company-wide change effort, for example, the employee input will likely be about how to implement the change at a departmental level, not about whether to make the change in the first place.

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These recommendations are made for the millions of managers, supervisors, team leaders, and employees who are asked to change something - or everything - periodically at work. You may or may not have had input into the direction chosen by your executives or your organization. But, as the core doers at work, you are expected to make the changes and deal with any resistance to change that you may experience along the way. You can reduce employee resistance to change by taking these recommended actions.

Manage Resistance to Change

These tips will help you minimize, reduce, and make less painful, the resistance to change that you create as you introduce changes. This is not the definitive guide to managing resistance to change - but implementing these suggestions, will give you a head start.

•Own the changes. No matter where the change originated - and change can show up at any point in your organization, even originating with you - you must own the change yourself. It's your responsibility to implement the change. You can only do that effectively, if you step back, take a deep breath, and plan how you will implement the change with the people you influence in your organization.

•Get over it. Okay, you've had the opportunity to tell senior managers what you think. You spoke loudly in the focus group. You presented your recommended direction with data and examples to the team. The powers that be or the team leader have chosen a different direction than the one you supported. It's time for the change to move on. Once the decision is made, your agitating time is over. Whether you disagree or not, once the organization, the group, or the team decides to move on - you need to do everything in your power to make the selected direction succeed.

•No biased and fractional support allowed. Even if you don't support the direction, once the direction is the direction, you owe it 100% support. Wishy-washy or partial support is undermining the change effort. If you can't buy into the fact that the chosen direction is where you are going, you can, at least, buy into the fact that it is critical that you support it. Once the direction is chosen, it is your job to make it work. Anything less is disrespectful, undermining, and destructive of the team decision.

•Recognize that resistance to change is minimized if you have created a trusting, employee-oriented, supportive work environment prior to the change. If you are considered to be honest, and your employees trust you and feel loyal to you, employees are much more likely te get onboard for the change quickly. So, the efforts you have expended in building this type of relationship will serve you well during change. (They will serve you well at work, in general, but especially during times of stress and change.)

•Communicate the change. You undoubtedly have reporting staff, departmental colleagues, and employees to whom you must communicate the change. How you communicate the change to the people you influence has the single most important impact on how much resistance to change will occur. If you wholeheartedly communicate the change, you will win the hearts and minds of the employees.

One of the key factors in reducing resistance to change is to implement change in an environment in which there is wide-spread belief that a change is needed. So, one of your first tasks in effective communication is to build the case for why the change was needed. (If the rationale was not communicated to you, and if you are not clear about it yourself, you will have difficulty convincing others, so consult with your manager, first.)

Specifically inform the employees about what your group can and cannot affect. Spend time discussing how to implement the change and make it work. Answer questions; honestly share your earlier reservations, but state that you are onboard and going to make the change work. Ask the employees to join you in that endeavor because only the team can make the change happen. Stress that you have knowledge, skills, and strengths that will help move the team forward, and so does each of the team members. All are critical.

•Help the employees identify what's in it for them to make the change. A good portion of the normal resistance to change disappears when employees are clear about the benefits the change brings to them as individuals. Benefits to the group, the department, and the organization should be stressed, too. But, nothing is more important to an individual employee than to know the positive impact on their own career or job.

Additionally, employees must feel that the time, energy, commitment, and focus necessary to implement the change are compensated equally by the benefits they will attain from making the change. Happier customers, increased sales, a pay raise, saved time and steps, positive notoriety, recognition from the boss, more effective, productive employees, and an exciting new role or project are examples of ways in which you can help employees feel compensated for the time, energy, focus, change, and challenge that any change requires.

•Listen deeply and empathetically to the employees. You can expect that the employees will experience the same range of emotions, thoughts, agreement, and disagreement that you experienced when the change was introduced to you or when you participated in creating the change. Never minimize an employee's response to even the most simple change. You can't know or experience the impact from an individual employee's point of view. Maybe the change seems insignificant to many employees, but the change will seriously impact another employee's favorite task. Hearing the employees out and letting them express their point of view in a non-judgmental environment will reduce resistance to change.

•Empower employees to contribute. Control of their own jobs is one of the five key factors in what employees want from work. So, too, this control aspect follows when you seek to minimize resistance to change. Give the employees control over any aspect of the change that they can manage. If you have communicated transparently, you have provided the direction, the rationale, the goals, and the parameters that have been set by your organization. Within that framework, your job is to empower the employees to make the change work. Practice effective delegation and set the critical path points at which you need feedback for the change effort - and get out of the way.

•Create an organization-wide feedback and improvement loop. Do these steps mean that the change that was made is the right or optimal change? Not necessarily. You must maintain an open line of communication throughout your organization to make sure that feedback reaches the ears of th employees leading the charge. Changing course or details, continuous improvement, and tweaking is a natural, and expected, part of any organizational change. Most changes are not poured in concrete but there must be a willingness to examine the improvement (plan - do - study - act).

If you implement your change in an organizational environment that is employee-oriented, with transparent communication and a high level of trust, you have a huge advantage. But, even in the most supportive environment, you must understand and respond to the range of human emotions and responses that are elicited during times of intense change.
Source: humanresources.about.com/od/resistancetochange/a/how-to-reduce-resistance-to-change.htm

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