Monday, October 13, 2014



Here are six steps that you can and must take to greatly minimize the chances that a hazing incident will occur on your team.
1. Develop Strong, Positive, Responsible Leaders
It always puzzles me when schools are looking for an anti-hazing speaker or program. When it comes right down to it, what these schools really want and need are positive, responsible, and proactive leaders who will not plan or permit any hazing. Invest the time to develop strong leaders who aren't afraid to step up and speak out against hazing.
2. Provide Positive Alternatives to Hazing
Ironically, some team leaders believe that hazing promotes team building, when in actuality it undermines it. If team building is what they are after, then there are a variety of positive team building ideas that leaders can use like team dinners, movie nights, ropes courses, camping trips, whitewater rafting, laser tag, team building challenges, etc. As a coach, you can either organize these team building ideas or empower your team leaders to do so.
3. Meet with Your Leaders and Team to Discuss Your Views and Policy on Hazing
Make sure your leaders and team members know in no uncertain terms that hazing will not be tolerated in your program/school. Let your leaders know that you are holding them accountable to prevent and diffuse any potential hazing incidents BEFORE they happen. Be clear that the consequences for them and the team will be quite severe if they do not heed your warning.
(Remember, if you suspect hazing may occur at a party, yet say nothing, your athletes in effect will likely believe that you condone the behavior.)
4. Cite Examples of Initiations Gone Bad
To help the message sink in to your athletes, you might consider giving your leaders examples of teams that have lost teammates and/or seasons because of hazing incidents. Calling attention to these real-life examples is especially important if you believe your athletes have a careless attitude toward hazing. These terrible, yet practical examples can help them understand the seriousness of the situation.
5. Install a Buddy System
Pair up your newcomers with one of your veteran athletes. Let the veteran know that they are in charge of helping the newcomer survive and thrive in the new environment. You want to create a situation where the older teammate acts as a big brother/sister for the younger one and looks out for him/her. Impress upon the veteran that they must always look out for and protect their younger teammate.
6. Encourage Your Newcomers to Report Any Anticipated or Actual Hazing
Let your newcomers know that you want them to come to you immediately if they anticipate or experience any hazing. Obviously most will be unlikely to do so because they want to fit in to the team and the last thing they want is their teammates to view them as a tattletale. However, be sure that they too know that you have zero tolerance for hazing.
While unfortunately these suggestions can never guarantee that you won't have a hazing incident, proactively using these suggestions provides you with the best insurance policy against it.

In addition to the above suggestions, I've provided some links below of some fabulous resources on hazing prevention.
Hank Nuwer - a leading expert on hazing

By The Bully Blog with No comments

What are your thoughts? Future of football team rocked by hazing unclear

SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey school superintendent who canceled a high school football season after allegations of hazing among students said he is weighing whether to restore the program after this season.
"I will say clearly: Whether we have a football program moving forward is certainly a question in my mind," Labbe said. "Based upon the severity of the charges, I'm not sure."Sayreville Superintendent Richard Labbe told that he's not sure the football program at Sayreville War Memorial High School will return based on the severity of the charges leveled against seven players on Friday.
Labbe said he has to look at the results of the investigation and is waiting for more information from the Middlesex County prosecutor's office.
Seven students face sex-crime charges stemming from the alleged hazing. Three were charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal restraint, hazing and other crimes stemming from an act of sexual penetration upon one of the children. The other four students were charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact and other crimes.
District officials said Sunday that all seven have been suspended.
"I just think that based upon everything that has occurred, I just need to make sure that we recognize what football is," Labbe said. "It's just a game. And as soon as it becomes more than just a game, it opens up to situations like this."
Hundreds of people turned out for a rally Sunday night that sought to promote unity and healing within the community and show support for the victims of bullying.
The rally was staged in a park across the street from the school, Sayreville War Memorial High.
"We need to come together to support each other, our children, our community and most especially the young men who spoke up," organizer Maureen Jenkins said in an emotional speech.
Participants were given balloons, ribbons, stickers and candles. They were asked to walk around the lake at Kennedy Park and release the balloons or show other forms of support.
Alex Simon, 24, a Sayreville native who recently moved to Connecticut to attend law school, said he came home for the event to show support for his community. Simon attended schools in the town and served for a time as a substitute teacher in the school district.
"This will be a long recovery process for our community, but this is a good first step," Simon said of the rally. "I've talked with lots of people (about the hazing claims) and they were upset about it, but I think this event is a good way to start getting things better. I've always loved this town and will always support it."
At least one player on the football team attended the rally. Junior Justin Quitanilla arrived with his family wearing a Sayreville high school game jersey, reported.
Asked why more players did not attend, Quitanilla said many of those he approached were "afraid of what others would think about them if they did."
"I'm just here to show support," he said. "Sayreville strong."

By The Bully Blog with No comments

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What can teachers do to empower bystanders in their classrooms?

When it comes to empowering bystanders, simply telling students to “tell an adult” is not enough. They need ideas on how to handle a variety of situations. Sometimes bystanders don’t come forward because they don’t have the confidence that adults will respond. In some environments, kids feel like reporting the problem will only make it worse rather than better.
Therefore at school, a good anti-bullying policy must be in place before bystanders can be expected to report a bullying situation. If your school doesn’t have an anti-bullying policy, then develop one for your classroom. It’s important for all kids to know that bullying behavior is unacceptable. Once you have a policy in place, here are some ways to empower bystanders in your classroom.
  • Send the message that bullying is a serious matter and will not be tolerated.
  • Be sure everyone is aware of the specific disciplinary measures for bullying.
  • Provide kids with the names of teachers and staff that they can talk to about the bullying they witness in case you are not available.
  • Have your class perform a skit involving bullying. This activity will help them learn to recognize bullying and see some positive ways to respond.
  • Start a conversation after the skit to allow kids to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.
  • Help students find ways to reach out to targets of bullying and isolated peers. Sometimes having just one friend can keep a target from feeling alone.
  • Assure students that reporting bullying is safe and that their names will be protected.
  • Give them the option of speaking about the bullying in general terms without mentioning names. For example, when they report bullying it might be easier to make general statements like, “You might want to watch what happens in the main hall after school.”
  • Be approachable when it comes to bullying. Kids tend to form strong relationships with their teachers. As a result, you are the person they will feel most comfortable talking with. Going to the principal or a counselor may feel too extreme when they only witness the bullying and don’t actually experience it.
  • Be available and open to conversations about bullying and don’t confuse “reporting” with “tattling.”
  • Watch your tone and your attitude when a child reports bullying. Avoid being condescending or acting annoyed. You want kids to have confidence that you will handle the situation.
  • Use encouraging statements when a bystander reports bullying. Say something like, “Thanks for telling me. It took a lot of courage to talk to me about this. I will make sure the situation is addressed.”
  • Respond to bullying quickly and consistently when it is reported. Never ignore bullying and don’t expect kids to “work it out.”
  • Keep the bystander’s name out of the discussion when talking with the bully. You need to protect your bystanders from possible retaliation by the bully. If you don’t protect your bystanders, no one will feel safe in reporting bullying behavior.

By The Bully Blog with No comments

7-Step Plan for Standing Up to Bullying

Being bullied can leave teens and tweens feeling helpless, vulnerable and confused. As a result, kids who are bullied are often so surprised or shocked by bullying that they aren’t sure what to do. But their indecision and silence actually can open the door to more bullying.
To keep bullies at bay and to prevent future bullying, kids need to know how to stand up to a bully. Aside from developing their assertiveness skills, building their self-esteem and improving their social skills, they also need practical tools on how to handle bullying situations. Here is a seven-step plan that any child can follow.
Ignore the bully. Not reacting when someone says or does something hurtful is often the most effective response. Most bullies are looking for a reaction. They want to make the target get angry or cry. And, if your child gives them an emotional response, the bullying often continues. Conversely, if your child keeps on walking with his head held high every time someone engages in name-calling or any other type of bullying, the bully will eventually move on when he realizes he won’t get a response from your child.
Tell the bully to stop. Again, bullies often don’t expect someone to stand up to them. But telling a bully to stop in a strong and confident voice can be very effective.  In fact, bullies often count on finding a victim who won’t say anything at all. But if your child makes sure the bully knows he can’t just walk all over your child, he is more likely to stop what he is doing.
Make a joke or agree with the bully. Some kids are naturally funny and find it easy to laugh right along with the bully. When kids are able to do this, it demonstrates that they are sure enough about who they are, that it doesn’t bother them if other people point out their flaws. In fact, they are often secure enough to laugh right along with them. When your child laughs with the bully, it diffuses any power the bully thought he had over your child and his bullying methods become ineffective.
Avoid bullying hot spots. Sometimes all it takes to prevent bullying is to avoid places where bullies hang out. These bullying hot spots include areas like the far corners of the playground, vacant hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms and the back of the bus. Be sure your child knows where these spots are located and that he avoids them or travels with a buddy when he can.
Stick with friends. Bullies usually look for kids who are alone or socially isolated. Be sure your child knows that there is safety in numbers and hanging out with friends is a great way to prevent bullying. If your child struggles with social skills or has very few friends, take steps to help him develop friendships.
Know how to get out of a bullying situation. Talk to your child about ways in which he can defend himself against bullies, especially if the bullying is physical. For instance, be sure your child knows to keep his eye on the exit and to use it when the opportunity presents itself. Other options include making a lot of noise, attracting attention and knowing how to deflect any type of physical aggression.
Report the bullying to an adult. Be sure your child knows that the best way to prevent bullying is to report it. Without adult intervention, bullying often will continue or escalate. Make you also talk about the reasons why kids don’t tell others they are being bullied and be sure your children know that you understand their fears. Stress that while it takes a lot of strength and courage to report bullying, it is the smartest way to handle this type of situation.

By The Bully Blog with 2 comments

6 Common Types of Bullies

Researchers have been studying the phenomenon of bullying for years. What they have discovered is that not all bullies are created equal. In fact, bullies can vary greatly from one person to another. They have different styles, personalities, goals and behaviors. And their motivations for and methods of bullying are all different.
By being aware of the common types of bullies, you will be better equipped to help your child in any situation. But remember, not all bullies will fit neatly into a category. Some bullies will fall into several categories and some may appear to be in a category all their own.
Here is an overview of the six most common types of bullies your child might encounter.

Bully Victims

Bully victims often rise up after being bullied. They bully others weaker than them because they too have been bullied. Their goal usually is to regain a sense of power and control in their lives.
This type of bully is very common. In fact, a large number of kids who bully others have been bullied themselves. Their bullying is a way of retaliating for the pain they are feeling. Other times, the bully victim comes from a home riddled with domestic violence or suffers abuse from an older sibling. So in these cases, bullying is a learned behavior.
Most bully victims are either loners or fall at the bottom of the social ladder at school. This fact adds to the sense of powerlessness and anger they feel. Consequently, their bullying often appears hostile, which seems to keep the bully victim in a position of low social status and perpetuates the cycle of bully victim.

Popular / Aggressive Bullies

Popular bullies have big egos. They are confident, aggressive and condescending. They usually have a group of followers or supporters and may feel like they rule the school.
Additionally, popular bullies have a sense of entitlement that can stem from their popularity, their size, their upbringing or their socio-economic status. They thrive on the physical power and control they have over their victims and may boast about their bullying. Most often they bully others through physical acts like pushing someone around, taking their books or pinning them against lockers.
These bullies are sometimes the school’s star athlete or perceived school leader. They thrive on the attention and power they get from bullying. Other teens often tolerate this type of bully because they would rather be accepted than bullied.

Relational Bullies

The relational bully is usually a somewhat popular student who enjoys deciding who is accepted at school and who isn’t. Excluding, isolating and ostracizing others are the most common weapons used by this type of bully. Most often, the relational bully will use only verbal or emotional bullying to maintain control.
Relational bullies also maintain their power by using rumors, gossip, labels and name-calling. Typically, they target others they are jealous of or they feel are socially unacceptable. Maintaining popularity is the key reason for relational aggression . The relational bully will do anything to be part of the “in crowd.”

Serial Bullies

The serial bully is another type of bully often found in popular circles. These bullies are systematic, controlled and calculated in their approach. But parents, teachers and administrators may have no idea what the serial bully is capable of.
On the outside, this type of bully appears sweet, charming and charismatic to authority figures. But on the inside they can be cold and calculating and tend to inflict emotional pain on their victims over long periods of time. Sometimes serial bullies will use physical bullying but only if they can be sure they won’t be caught.
Serial bullies also are skilled manipulators and liars. Their sweet and nice persona is just another way to manipulate situations to their liking. They are able to twist facts and situations to make themselves look innocent or to get out of trouble when confronted. In fact, serial bullies are often so skilled at deception that their victims often are afraid to speak up, convinced that no one will ever believe them.

Group Bullies

Bullies, who fall in this category, are typically part of a group and have a pack mentality when they are together. They tend to bully as a group but behave much differently when they are alone – even if they are alone with the victim. Usually, group bullies imitate the leader of the group and just follow along.
Because kids feel insulated when they are in a group, they often feel freer to say and do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. They also feel less responsibility for their actions because “everyone is doing it.” This is a very dangerous type of bullying because things can quickly escalate out of control.

Indifferent Bullies

Indifferent bullies are often unable to feel empathy. As a result, they can often appear cold, unfeeling and detached and have very little, if any, remorse for what they do to others.
These types of bullies, although less common than the other types of bullies, are often the most dangerous. They are bullying for the sheer enjoyment of seeing another person suffer and they are not deterred by the possible consequences. Additionally, indifferent bullies are often vicious and have deep psychological problems that need to be addressed by a professional.

By The Bully Blog with 1 comment

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5 Types of Cyberbullying

Today kids are online more than ever. They use the Internet not only to research material for school, but to socialize with friends and family members. In fact, emailing and chatting are some of the most common online activities for kids. But just like any other social activity, the opportunity for bullying exists.
When a young person uses the Internet or technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person, this person is called a cyberbully. Typically, cyberbullying involves tweens and teens. If an adult is involved, it is considered cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Here are five of the most common methods of cyberbullying.

Harassing Someone

  • Using text messaging, instant messaging and email to harass, threaten or embarrass the target.
  • Posting rumors, threats or embarrassing information on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Engaging in “warning wars.” (Many Internet Service Providers offer a way to report a user who is saying something inappropriate. Kids use the “warn” button as a way to get the victim in trouble or kicked offline.)
  • Participating in text wars or text attacks, which occur when bullies gang up on the victim and send thousands of texts. These attacks not only cause emotional distress but create a large cell phone bill.

Impersonating Someone

  • Developing a screen name that is similar to the victim’s screen name and then posting rude or hurtful remarks while pretending to be the victim.
  • Stealing the victim’s password and chatting with other people while pretending to be the victim. The bully will say mean things that offend and anger the victim’s friends or acquaintances.
  • Changing the target’s online profile to include sexual, racist or other inappropriate things.
  • Setting up an account on a social networking site and posing as the victim while saying mean, hurtful or offensive things online. Actual photos of the victim may be used to make the account look authentic.
  • Posing as the victim and posting in chat rooms of known child molesters or hate groups. The bully may even provide the victim’s personal information encouraging the groups to contact the victim.

Using Photographs

  • Taking nude or degrading pictures of the victim in a locker room, a bathroom or dressing room without his or her permission.
  • Threatening to share embarrassing photos as a way of controlling or blackmailing the victim.
  • Sending mass emails or text messages that include nude or degrading photos of the victim. This behavior is often called “sexting,” and once the photos are sent, there is no way to control it. The photos can be distributed to hundreds of people within just a few hours.
  • Posting nude pictures on photo sharing sites for anyone on the Internet to view and download.

Creating Websites, Blogs, Polls and More

  • Developing a website with information that is humiliating, embarrassing or insulting for the victim.
  • Spreading rumors, lies or gossip about the victim online through websites or blogs.
  • Posting the victim’s personal information and pictures on a website, which puts the victim in danger of being contacted by predators.
  • Creating a blog about the victim that is embarrassing, insulting or humiliating.
  • Using information that was shared in confidence and making it public.
  • Conducting an Internet poll about the victim. Questions in the poll may vary including everything from who is ugly and who smells to who is dumb and who is fat.
  • Posting rude, mean or insulting comments about the victim via the chat option of online gaming sites.
  • Sending viruses, spyware or hacking programs to the victim in order to spy on the victim or control his or her computer remotely.

Participating in “Happy-Slapping”

  • Using a camera phone to videotape a bullying incident, which may include one or more kids slapping, hitting, kicking or punching the victim.
  • Downloading the videotaped bullying incident and posting it to YouTube in order to allow a larger audience to view the incident.
  • Sharing a videotaped bullying incident via mass e-mail or text messaging to humiliate and embarrass the victim.

By The Bully Blog with 1 comment

8 Ways to Spot Bullying in Your Child's Life

For some kids mum’s the word when it comes to bullying. In fact, most children don’t tell anyone, especially adults, that they have been bullied. While this makes little sense to adults, it makes perfect sense to a young person.
First, it’s embarrassing and painful for kids to tell someone that bullies are targeting them. Second, kids sometimes worry that telling someone will only make the situation worse. And third, children may fear that their parents or other adults will be disappointed in them.
Consequently, as a parent you have to be able to recognize the signs that your child is being victimized. You can’t count on them to share the information with you, no matter how great your relationship is. Here are some ideas for spotting red flags in your child’s behavior.
Listen to what your child is telling you. Many kids will not actually use the word “bullying” to describe what they are experiencing. Take note if your kids say there has been a lot of “drama” at school or that others are “messing” with them. Ask them to describe what happened and how they felt. Try to gather the facts surrounding the situation. If your child does confide in you, don’t minimize, rationalize or explain away the experience. Assure your kids that they didn’t cause the bullying. Instead give them some ideas for overcoming bullying.
Watch for “vanishing” friends. As a parent, you are most likely familiar with your kids’ friends. Take notice if your child’s usual friends are no longer calling or inviting them over. Sometimes friendships break up because the kids are growing apart. Other times, vanishing friends can be an indication that bullying is taking place. Ask your kids about their friends. If your child answers, “I have no friends,” that is a major red flag and you need to find out more.
Pay attention to your child’s moods. Look for a marked change in your child’s typical behavior and personality. Kids who are being bullied will sometimes appear anxious, clingy, sullen or withdrawn. They may also appear sad, moody, teary or depressed, especially after school or after being online. Dig deeper when kids suffer from low self-esteem, blame themselves for things or say they aren't good enough. And never ignore self-destructive behaviors like running away from home, cutting or talking about suicide . Whether or not bullying is the root cause, these behaviors should never be ignored.
Take note of your child’s minor health complaints and injuries. When kids are bullied they will complain frequently of headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments. Other signs of bullying include unexplained cuts, bruises and scratches. Kids who are targeted by bullies also may show changes in eating habits like skipping meals or binge eating. Bullied kids may come home from school hungry because they skipped lunch to avoid bullying or someone destroyed or took their lunch. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to find out what is going on in your child’s life.
Watch your child’s sleeping habits. Changes in sleeping patterns often indicate that something is amiss in your child’s life. Kids who are being targeted by bullies may have trouble sleeping or may experience nightmares when they do sleep. Other indicators include sleeping more than normal, crying themselves to sleep and bedwetting. Because quality sleep is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, investigate any changes in your child’s sleep patterns.
Look deeper if your child’s grades begin to fall. Kids who are being bullied often find it difficult to focus on schoolwork. As a result, they may lose interest in school and grades may drop. Routinely ask your children whether or not they like school. If your child says they “hate” school, find out why. Sometimes bullying will be at the root of the problem.
Make sure you know your child’s schedule. Skipping after school activities or claiming that regular activities are cancelled may indicate that your child dropped an activity because of bullying. Also, pay close attention if your child loses interest in a favorite sport, hobby or activity. Deviating from their usual routine is usually an indication that something is wrong. Find out why things have changed.
Watch for reports of lost possessions. Coming home from school without personal property and supplies may indicate more than just irresponsible behavior. Many times bullies will damage or steal a victim’s property. So if your child comes home with torn, damaged or missing pieces of clothing, books, toys, electronic items and other belongings, look deeper into the situation. You may find that bullying is at the root.

By The Bully Blog with 1 comment

How Girls Bully

Girls bully by using emotional violence. They do things that make others feel alienated and alone. Some of the tactics used by girls who bully include:
  • anonymous prank phone calls or harassing emails from dummy accounts
  • playing jokes or tricks designed to embarrass and humiliate
  • deliberate exclusion of other kids for no real reason
  • whispering in front of other kids with the intent to make them feel left out
  • name calling, rumor spreading and other malicious verbal interactions
  • being friends one week and then turning against a peer the next week with no incident or reason for the alienation
  • encouraging other kids to ignore or pick on a specific child
  • inciting others to act out violently or aggressively
Boys are not the only bullies, girls bully too. Being singled out, ridiculed, excluded, or alienated is a form of bullying. Being beaten up emotionally on a daily basis does damage to the victims. It is time that the problem was addressed for what it is, a gender difference in bullying but bullying none-the-less.
The Covert Tactics Used When Girls Bully Most studies about bullying focus on boys as aggressors but girls can be bullies too and when girls bully it can be an entirely different beast. When we think of bullying we tend to think of physical violence and outward taunting but when girls bully their tactics are often quiet and covert.

Girls Who Bully Can Be Hard to Recognize

From the outside looking in it can be hard to tell a group of girls who are bullying apart from a group of girls who are innocently standing around. Girls socialize differently than boys. As girls get older their peer interactions become less physical and more cerebral. Girls engage in verbal bonding by sharing stories, hopes, and dreams. Since girls bond differently than boys it makes sense that when they bully it would be different too.
Teachers and parents tend to talk about the obvious when they talk about bullying. Playground scuffles, name calling, stealing personal items and damaging property are commonly cited examples of bullying behavior. But when girls bully they aren’t so obvious. Girls can be quietly vicious with their victims and adults often fail to treat their behavior as bullying.

Girls and Boys Do Not Bully the Same Ways

The tactics used by girls who bully are distorted versions of some normal mechanisms of social development. According to research done by Lagerspetz, Bjorqvist and Peltonen at the University of Miami, when girls bully they use things like alienation, ostracism, deliberate and calculated random exclusions, and spreading of rumors to harass their peers.
Girls get other kids to gang up on one or more peers as a way of exerting control. Sometimes they incite other children to act out aggressively and sit back to watch the show. They form groups that pick and choose members at random and exclude others without real reason. They form alliances with other social groups in an effort to jockey for popularity and positions of power among peers. All too often the bullying tactics used by girls are brushed off as cruel but normal social interactions.
In Girls, Bullying Behaviors and Peer Relationships: The Double Edged Sword of Exclusion and Rejection, Barbara Leckie explains how bullying by girls manifests itself and how it is handled by adults. Leckie went over numerous studies dating back as far as 1980 and identified the many different ways that girls bully. She also found that adults were slower to react to the bullying tactics used by girls.

Adults Can Be Slow to React to Girls Who Bully

If there is violence or physical acting out of any sort adults are quick to intervene and when necessary will punish offenders, but when the bullying takes on a less obvious form even adults don’t seem to know what to do. When girls bully it often goes unaddressed. Since adults don't always label the tactics used by girls as bullying kids who fall victim don’t know where to turn for help.
The mindset still exists that not all kids can be friends and the social structure of the school system encourages the formation of groups and reinforces the idea of social hierarchies. This makes many adults slow to recognize things like exclusion and alienation as something sinister. These behaviors are often dismissed as an unfortunate part of the normal formation of peer groups.
While it is normal for girls and boys to form social groups and close bonds with certain people at the exclusion of others it becomes bullying when those groups make power plays over other groups or individuals. Having friends is one thing; having friends who work to make others feel that they are not good enough to be included is another. Playing the popularity game in a way that causes fear or inadequacy in others is a form of bullying and it is a common tactic used by girls.

Girls Bully in Packs

Sadly, good kids who know better go along with these types of popularity power games for fear of being singled out and cast out of the group. Since adults often treat this exclusionary behavior as mere social clashing kids who are caught in the middle are afraid to stand up to the bully. It seems easier to do nothing than it does to do the right thing.
Kids who quietly go along with a bully add to the bully's power by giving victims the illusion that the bully has peer support. The victim feels like everybody is against them, not just the bully. When adults do not address exclusionary behavior the same way they would address more traditionally forms of bullying it worsens the problem. Kids who know better feel powerless to do the right thing when adults don’t react.
Girls who bully will pick on boys as well as other girls. They act out as consistently as boys who bully and pick their targets in much the same way. While girls have been known to get violent when they bully it is much more common for them to use emotional tactics.

By The Bully Blog with 6 comments

Friday, September 19, 2014

10 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Bullying

There’s nothing worse than discovering your tween or teen has been targeted by a bully. As a parent, you may experience an entire range of emotions including anger, fear, pain, confusion and maybe even embarrassment. But regardless of what you are feeling, overcoming bullying requires immediate action on your part.

Bullying is not something that goes away on its own and it’s not something kids can just “work out.” Even if you are not sure if your child is being bullied, your participation in the situation is crucial to a positive outcome.

Here are 10 steps you can take to help your child overcome bullying.
Mom and teenager in conversation - Mother Image/Digital Vision/Getty Images

1. Create an environment where your tween or teen feels safe talking to you.

Make sure your teen or tween feels comfortable sharing with you. Avoid having an emotional reaction and don’t shame your child for being bullied. Instead, ask questions in a calm manner gathering as many details as you can. Applaud your tween or teen’s courage in telling you about the incident. This not only encourages future disclosures, but also helps build a stronger relationship between the two of you.

2. Make a commitment to help resolve the issue.

It’s always a good idea to ask for your child’s opinion before you go straight to teachers or administrators. Sometimes a tween or teen will be afraid of retaliation and you need to be sensitive to this concern when addressing the issue. If there is a fear of retaliation, you will need to be discreet in talking with school authorities and be sure they will do the same. Make sure they will not put your child at risk by calling both kids into the office at the same time or asking them to sit down with the guidance counselor together.

3. Discuss the bullying incidents in detail with school personnel.

Be sure to bring notes about when and where the bullying took place. The more concrete documentation you can provide, the better. Also ask them to share the school’s bullying policy and stress that you want to partner with the school to see that the issue is resolved.

4. Emphasize that your goal is to see that your child feels safe at school.

Ask the principal and guidance counselor how this will be accomplished. For example, what other adults, like duty aids, physical education teachers, bus drivers, hallway monitors and cafeteria staff, will be notified to be on alert? Can your child have a new class schedule or a new locker assignment? In other words, what steps can the school take to ensure your child’s safety? It’s very hard for a child to heal, if the school environment feels threatening or hostile. Even if the bullying has stopped, being around the bully may still cause your tween or teen anxiety.

5. Consider outside counseling.

Bullying can affect your child in a number of ways and regaining self-confidence is a process that may require outside intervention. A counselor also can assess your tween or teen for depression and thoughts of suicide. Even if you suspect your child is fine, never underestimate the power of bullying. Kids have taken drastic measures to escape the pain it causes including committing suicide without ever admitting the hurt they were feeling.

6. Encourage your tween or teen to stick with a friend at school.

Having a friend at lunch, in the hallways, while riding the bus and during the walk home is always a good idea. Bullies are more likely to target kids when they are alone. If finding a friend is an issue, consider driving your child to and from school and ask the school if they have a mentor or someone who can be available to your child.

7. Teach your tween or teen skills for overcoming the negative impact of bullying.

One way to do this is to emphasize your child’s strengths, skills, talents and positive attributes. Then, help your child find activities and events that help build on those strengths. Some parents have found that Tae Kwon Do or a self-defense class helps kids develop self-confidence.

8. Keep the lines of communication open with your child.

Be deliberate in asking about your tween or teen’s day and acknowledge any negative feelings or emotions. Watch for signs that your child is being bullied again – either by the same person or a new person. For non-bullying incidents, you also may want to brainstorm strategies for dealing with difficult peer situations. If your child is getting outside counseling, the counselor can give you additional strategies on actively listening and communicating with your child as well.

9. Foster opportunities for socializing with friends outside of school.

Encourage your tween or teen to invite friends over, to the movies or other fun activity. By doing so, you are helping your child develop a strong support system. If your child needs help finding friends look for opportunities within your child’s circle of interests. Keep in mind kids who have friends are less likely to be targeted by bullies. And if they are targeted, having friends helps ease the negative affects.

10. Follow up with the school to ensure that the bullying has been resolved.

If the bullying hasn’t been resolved, or if the school is not taking the situation seriously, you may want to consider removing your child from the situation. Is the bullying serious enough that you can involve law enforcement? Can your tween or teen attend another school? Are there options for online learning programs that are done at home? It’s important that your tween or teen feels like they have options. Feeling like there are no options or that the bullying must be tolerated, leads to feelings of hopeless, depression and even suicide.

By The Bully Blog with 3 comments

Thursday, September 18, 2014

You don't need to look like everybody else. Love who you are.

You don't need to look like everybody else. Love who you are.

By The Bully Blog with 1 comment

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

8 Facts About Bullying Everyone Should Know

Fact #1: Bullies come in all shapes and sizes.

It’s a mistake to assume that all bullies are loners or have low self-esteem. In fact, there are at least six common types of bullies. While some bullies do suffer from self-esteem issues, there are others who bully because they feel entitled. Other kids bully because they too have been victims of bullying and others bully to climb the social ladder. Some kids even bully due to peer pressure.
Bullying involves having power over someone. As a result, many kids who bully have a craving for power. In other words, the bully is looking to improve his status. Meanwhile, other kids participate in bullying because they view it as an effective method for controlling and manipulating the social hierarchy at school.

Fact #2: Anyone can become a victim of bullying.

While there are certain attributes that often lead bullies to target someone, it’s a mistake to assume there is one type of target. In fact, even the most popular kids at school can be victims of bullying. It’s important to remember that kids are bullied because the bully made a choice to target them.
As a result, it’s wrong to assume that some kids are bullied because they have a victim personality. When this idea is embraced, it removes the blame from the bully and places it on the victim. The responsibility for bullying always falls on the bullies. They are the only ones with a choice in the matter. Likewise, labeling kids who are bullied lets the bully off the hook and implies the victim deserves to be bullied.

Fact #3: Bullying can happen at any age.

While bullying often starts in late elementary school and peaks in middle school, it’s important to point out that bullying can start as young as preschool. While the majority of school bullying takes place in middle school, some bullying carries over into adulthood. In fact, workplace bullying is a growing problem.
It really doesn’t matter what age a person is, bullies focus on anyone who doesn’t fit the accepted norm and focus on that. They also will bully others they feel threatened by or those that have something they want. People also have been bullied because they look, act, talk or dress differently.

Fact #4: There are six types of bullying.

When most people picture bullying, they imagine a group of boys punching and kicking another boy. But physical bullying is only type of bullying. There are in fact six different types of bullying including physical bullying, verbal bullying, relational aggression, cyberbullying, prejudicial bullying and sexual bullying.

Fact #5: Boys and girls bully differently.

When it comes to bullying, boys and girls tend to bully differently. For instance female bullies tend to be “mean girls” who use relational aggression and cyberbullying to control and manipulate situations. Girls also resort to more name-calling and tend to bully only other girls.
Boys on the other hand tend to be more physically aggressive. This is not to say that they don’t call names and cyberbully others, but when it comes down to it, boys tend to punch and hit much more than female bullies. Additionally, male bullies will bully both girls and boys. They also are impulsive, menacing and enjoy the status they get from a fight.

Fact #6: Those victimized by bullying often don’t report it.

Despite the number of negative emotions and consequences of bullying, manytargets of bullying do not tell anyone what is happening to them. The reasons for remaining silent vary from person to person. But for some tweens and teens, they are embarrassed, confused or feel they can handle it on their own. A number of young people also question whether or not telling will do any good. Unfortunately, some adults and school systems have established a pattern of not addressing bullying and young people feel that telling is won’t do any good.

Fact #7: Usually there are witnesses to bullying.

Frequently, when bullying occurs, other kids are present. Yet, the common reaction for these bystanders is to simply stand by and do nothing. For this reason, bullying prevention efforts should include ideas on how to empower bystanders to take action. Included in those programs are ideas on what bystanders can do if they witness bullying. Many times, kids remain silent because they are unsure what they should do or they feel it is none of their business. But the goal in bullying prevention is to capitalize on the audience a bully has and turn it toward helping the victim rather than silently supporting bullies.

Fact #8: Bullying has significant consequences.

Being targeted by a bully can have significant consequences for the victim. In fact, many victims feel alone, isolated and humiliated. And if bullying is left unaddressed a number of other issues can crop up including depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and even suicide. For this reason, it is important that parents and teachers realize that bullying is not a rite of passage and it won’t make victims stronger. Instead it has lasting consequences and should be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

By The Bully Blog with 2 comments

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