What are some signs that your child is having to deal with bullying behavior?
- There is an imbalance of power within their friend group. Power differences can be based on almost anything. Any time one person really wants something, there is potential to be kind towards those that offer that and ignore or be abusive to those that don’t. Differences can be based on finances, appearance, memberships, ethnicity, business opportunities, a child’s performance academically or athletically, inside organizational information, orientation, etc. Any situation where there is some sort of coveted power, there is potential for bullying.
- There is exclusion, gossip, ignoring, etc.
- Everyone must think/feel the same. Disagreement is a threat. Individuality is not tolerated.
- Communication is based on domination. Lack of disclosure of real thoughts/feelings.
- There is a lack of problem solving. Problems are ignored.
- Feelings are denied.
- Values are dictated. Situations and people are all or nothing: black/white or good/bad.
The behavior might not be to such an extreme as to be called bullying but is on a spectrum that is not emotionally healthy for any party involved.
What you can do at home to create a more resilient child to bullying?
- Empower your child with a voice and an ability to make choices.
- Foster relationships with your spouse, friends and child that is focused on caring and contribution. Make it safe to share feelings without fear of it being used for ammunition later.
- Focus on solving problems in the future not on blaming for the past.
- Use and teach your child to use assertive language. See article on Assertiveness.
Bailey, B. (Director) (2010, October 28). Bullying. NAEYC. Lecture conducted from NAEYC, Anaheim, CA.
Simmons, R. (2002). Odd girl out. New York, NY: Mariner Books.