It's Not OK|
While bullying has received increased
media attention, there are still many misperceptions of this problem
and its solutions.
Bullying prevention is a highly researched and well-proven area of
violence prevention. The social dynamics of bullying are similar in
most settings - bullies begin the school year by picking on a large
number of children. Those children whose emotional responses gratify
the bullies become the chosen victims for the year. Victims are smaller
and weaker (boys) or more socially isolated (girls) than the bullies.
Since harassment rarely occurs overtly in the classroom, teachers
may be slow to recognize the dynamics of bullying or to prevent it.
Thus, parents should be counseled to discuss bullying prevention with
school guidance counselors or administrators. While victims may be
more likely to seek medical attention, long-term studies demonstrate
that the poorest outcomes are among bullies themselves. Children labeled
by their peers as aggressors or bullies at age 8 are more likely to
end up incarcerated and are less likely to be steadily employed and
in stable long-term romantic relationships by the time they reach
age 30. Consequently, bullying prevention programs have a long-term
benefit for both bullies and victims.
- Bullying is different than fighting or teasing. It is repetitive,
negative actions by one person or persons against chosen victims.
- There are 3 groups of children involved: bullies, victims, and bystanders.
How to Use This Tool
- Since parents and children are concerned about bullying, leave this
brochure in the waiting room.
Ask the parents, "Is your child picked on in school?" When you discover
a child is being picked on, discuss the specific strategies with parents.
Parents should be advised to discuss bullying with the school guidance
counselor and/or principal.
- This brochure is particularly useful as a handout for school and
When giving this brochure to their parents, note that bullies, especially
male bullies, are at a high risk for poor long-term outcomes unless
the bullying is stopped at a young age.
- When faced with a child who has an unusual new onset of school phobia
or attention problems, gently probe about being picked on or teased
before, during, or after school. This child may have difficulty focusing
on class work, be reluctant to attend school, or have a variety of
- Victims often internalize the criticism of bullies and feel that
they deserve the teasing and may be ashamed.
- When the school has alerted parents that their child is aggressive
or a bully, insist that the child receive counseling and that the
parents take the issue seriously.
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