The start of a new school year is right around the corner. Many stores are stocking their shelves with book bags, school supplies and boxes of crayons and pencils. For some children the start of a new school year brings fears and anxiety about bullying. According to the website, www.stopbullying.gov bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
• 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.
• 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.
According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9-12 experienced bullying. Consider that in a classroom of 25 students – 5 of these students may have experienced bullying.
Forms of bullying may include teasing, taunting, name calling, or threatening physical harm.
Social bullying may include spreading rumors about someone, leaving someone out on purpose, embarrassing someone on purpose or telling someone not to be friends with someone.
Physical bullying can include hitting, pinching, spitting, tripping or taking someone’s things. All forms of bullying can be damaging and have the ability to hurt others.
What can you do? Encourage your child to talk to an adult about the bullying. Suggest they tell the teacher, school counselor, camp counselor or other adult about what happened. It will be important to share details about the incident. The adult will help so that it doesn’t happen anymore.
Once they’ve talked to an adult about the bullying, encourage your child to become friends with the child who has been bullied. They can take simple steps to help them feel included.
Say hello and smile.
- Invite them to sit together at lunch.
- Invite them to play a game at recess.
Start this school year off right – as a parent learn about bullying and talk to your child about what to do if they or someone they know is being bullied. You can work together with responsible adults and observant children to help stop this mean behavior.
Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, email@example.com
Reviewer: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org