How Do We Define Bullying?
According to Youth.gov, the reason October was established as National Bullying Prevention Month was “To transform a society that accepts bullying into a society that recognizes that bullying must – and can – be addressed through education and support.”
In other words, it exists because bullying exists and impacts our children. We don’t want bullying to continue.
So, What Is Considered Bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
It is important to know that what is considered bullying is largely defined by the person bullied. In other words, even if a child doesn’t believe they are being a bully, or they feel like they are just engaging in good-natured joking if your child doesn’t welcome the behavior, it is bullying.
Types of Bullying
Our culture tends to think of bullying and bullies with old-school stereotypes that may no longer be relevant. Kids are not necessarily stuffing each other into lockers anymore. Behavior that could be considered bullying is far broader than you might think.
It includes but is not limited to “Making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
- Physical Attacks: Of course, any unwanted physical behavior, such as hitting, slapping, kicking, tripping, throwing items, spitballs, and any other touching, is considered bullying.
- Verbal Attacks: Your child should not have to be subject to being yelled at, cursed at, made fun of, or verbally attacked in any way. Just joking is not a reasonable excuse for verbal attacks.
- Making threats: Even threatening to physically or emotionally harm someone should be considered bullying.
- Spreading Rumors: Even if a person does not directly attack or threaten someone physically or verbally, spreading rumors classifies as a destructive type of bullying.
- Intentionally Excluding Someone: Sometimes, it’s not what a person does but what they exclude your child from that manifests as bullying.
Bullying may not be taking place primarily at or isolated to school. Sometimes, your child is being bullied in their digital lives.
“Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.” - StopBullying.gov.
It is vital for parents to be involved in their child’s digital lives. It is simply not enough to assume your kids are safe online.
Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied
For various reasons, your child might not necessarily seek help from you or their teachers if they’re being bullied. It’s going to be up to you to look for the signs of bullying:
- Your child might have frequent injuries that do not have a clear explanation
- Your child may frequently seem to lose or break items such as clothing, books, food, electronics, or jewelry. Your child may not be quick to tell you about these items.
- Your child may experience frequent headaches, stomach aches, sicknesses, and other maladies for which they want to miss school. You may also find them faking these problems.
- Your child may experience changes in eating habits. They may either avoid food or binge.
- Your child may have trouble sleeping or staying asleep. They may have nightmares or wake up frequently during the night.
- Your child’s academic performance may decline. They may have trouble completing homework or taking tests.
- Your child may not be hanging out with what you thought were good friends. They may have a notable reduction in self-esteem.
- Your child may engage in self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or discussing suicide.
What to Do About Bullying
Parents are encouraged to talk to teachers, administrators, and other school professionals about some of the challenges they’re facing with bullies. However, sometimes parents may find that the systems in place are not working quickly enough.
Online education might be the solution for students who are experiencing bullying. Most schools don’t appropriately serve the needs of ALL students, often leaving behind students by ignoring their personal learning styles, needs, and goals. Students with learning difficulties might be more susceptible to bullying.
Ignite Learning Academy was created to fill the gaps where traditional education fails. At ILA, students feel known and cared for, they’re encouraged to thrive, and their tuition supports the growth of the school and not the pockets of third-party shareholders.
If you would like to know more about how our school can help students with specific needs or who are experiencing bullying, we would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today!