So what is bullying? The definition given by StopBullying.gov states:
– An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
– Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
– Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
The types of Bullying that occur:
– VERBAL -use of words, statements and name calling to belittle, demean and hurt another person. Gaining power and control over target.
– SOCIAL/RELATIONAL -sneaky and insidious types of bullying that often goes unnoticed by parents and educators – sometimes referred to as emotional bullying. Often within social groups and predominantly amongst girls between 5-8th grades.
– PHYSICAL -Physical entails hitting, kicking, punching, spitting or tripping another child.
The difference between bullying and teasing gets very mixed because teasing, while many times is not meant to hurt another person, it can. Teasing is generally “to make fun of somebody.” This happens at school, between an adult and a child and between siblings. Teasing is meant to be a game in which harm is not intended unlike bullying where harm is intended to a weaker person. Teasing can come across as funny or playful by the person teasing but can be taken as hurtful by the person experiencing it. Teasing can be overcome by a person having a strong sense of self. Having a good relationship with your child in which you are able to talk about problems that they are having helps to develop their resilience and their understanding of how to handle situations.
As you are talking to your child about what they are learning about bullying this month, help them to understand that it is never okay for someone else to make them feel bad. Remind them of the amazing talents, abilities and positive attributes they each have which makes them special. Help guide them as to what to do when they feel they are teased or bullied. Empower your child.