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Bullying is NEVER okay!

My mother always said, “It’s not funny if the one being teased isn’t laughing, too.” Everyone kids around every now and again, but when the behavior continues to repeat itself, teasing crosses the line and becomes bullying. Bullying is NEVER okay, EVER. Bullying is NOT a normal childhood behavior and must not be considered to be so. Bullying is hurtful and often escalates into mean and harmful acts that will have lasting impacts on the victim well into their adult lives. Across all age groups of children and adolescents, bullying behaviors are related to getting and or keeping power over someone else. Victimization is often related to a child appearing to be vulnerable, weaker, socially inept and being “different.” Bullying most often occurs at school when teachers or other adults are not watching. The school climate or culture of accepting that bullying is a normal childhood behavior has contributed to an increase in the incidence of bullying behavior. Schools without a zero tolerance program with response to bullying have a greater frequency of these behaviors among the students. Girls are more likely to be victims of bullying as they are victimized by both boys and girls, whereas boys tend to be taunted primarily by other boys. Girls also tend to be viewed as easy targets, more vulnerable, easier to cry and less likely to stand up for themselves in the face of the bully. Bullies may exhibit low self-esteem, or high self-esteem, along with personal insecurities that may perpetuate the aggressive behaviors. Power, jealousy, popularity and status are frequent motivators for bullies in the middle school and high school ages.

What to do if your child is being bullied? Above all, teach your child that bullying is NEVER okay. Begin at a young age to empower your child. Teach your child to face up to the bully, look him or her in the eye, stay calm and do not engage the perpetrator. In doing this you are teaching your child how not to give away their own power, which is what the bully wants. Phrases such as, “I don’t like what you are doing” and “do not talk to me that way”, are tools your child can use that will enable your child to stand up for themselves. Tell your child it is okay to tell a teacher or adult if they are being bullied. Encourage your child to ask for help.

If your child is the bully, be firm and consistent that bullying is NEVER okay, NEVER funny and will NEVER be tolerated. Talk with your child about how bullying is harmful to others as well as himself. Use a loss of privilege system of punishment for bullying behaviors and be consistent about enforcing the no bullying rules.
As a parent, it is important to support your child’s interests, encourage him or her to get involved in activities and make friends. Find out about your school’s policies on bullying and the programs in place to educate the students and enforce a no bullying zone of safety at school. Finally, become a role model for your children. Lead by example and demonstrate for them what it looks like and means to be kind, considerate and respectful to all people, everywhere, at all times.

Written by Kelly Reed, C.P.N.P.
On behalf of PAMPA

N.Guerri, S.Sadie. Child Development Special Issus: Raising Healthy children. Vol 82, Issue 1 pg. 295-310.


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PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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