Misperceptions vs. Facts

Misperception: Girls do not bully.
Fact: Girls can/do bully, but often in a different way. Girls often use verbal and social bullying. Bullying for girls escalates in adolescents
Misperception: Words will never hurt you.
Fact: Even though words don’t leave bruises or broken bones, they can leave emotional scars.
Misperception: It was only teasing.
Fact: Teasing in which a child is not offended is not considered bullying. Teasing becomes bullying when the intent of the action is to hurt or harm.
Misperception: Bullying will make kids tougher.
Fact: Bullying does NOT make someone stronger or tougher. It often has the reverse effect—lowering a child’s self-esteem and self-worth. Bullying generates distress and escalates anxiety for a child.
Misperception: Bullying is a common part of growing up.
Fact: Bullying may be a shared experience, but this type of aggression toward others should not be accepted.
Misperception: Children who are bullied will almost always tell an adult.
Fact: Most studies find that only 25%-50% of bullied children report to an adult. Children that do not tell adults may fear retaliation or they may worry that the adults won’t take them seriously.
Misperception: Bullied kids need to learn how to deal with bullying on their own.
Fact: Some children have the confidence and characteristics to stop bullying when it happens, but many do not. Adults have a significant part to play in stopping bullying, as do other children who observe bullying.

3 Types of Bullying

  1. Physical Bullies – are action-oriented. This includes hitting/kicking the victim, or taking/damaging the target’s property.
  2. Verbal Bullies –use words to hurt or humiliate another person. Includes name-calling, insulting, and constant teasing.
  3. Relational Bullies – This type of bullying is related to verbal bullying and typically happens when children spread nasty rumors about others, or exclude ‘ex-friends’ from the peer group.

Signs/Symptoms of Bullying, Students May:

  • Be scared of walking to and from school
  • Plead you to drive them to school
  • Be emotionally absent
  • Begin doing poorly in school work
  • Come home regularly with clothes or books destroyed
  • Refuse to talk about what’s wrong
  • Have unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches
  • Begin to bully other children, siblings
  • Become aggressive or disruptive

How Can I Help?

  • Listen: talk about school/friends daily
  • If your child is bullied, make sure that your child knows that you’re not disappointed/don’t blame him/her.
  • Ask your child what he/she thinks should be done. What has your child tried? What worked and what didn’t?
  • Brainstorm response ideas with your child:
  • Use a response like “ok” or “thanks for your opinion” to show that you’re not going to respond to the teasing
  • Make a joke
  • Avoid areas where bullies hang out: Travel with friends
  • Use an “I message”:
  • I feel ____________ when ______ because ______. I would like _________.
  • Follow up with your child: How did it go? What might be more effective?
  • Keep in contact with your student’s teacher
  • Contact the school counselor for additional support/suggestions if the situation continues