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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 12:28 pm | Fair 61º


Rae Largura: Seven Facts About Bullying

You often won’t know when your child is being bullied.

Just because you don't hear or see it, doesn’t mean it isn't happening. Statistics are not able to get accurate percentages on this often hidden and silent concern. Many kids don’t speak up because it will lead to more abuse, because they’re ashamed or because of the strongly upheld unwritten code against tattling.

Bullies come in all sizes.

It is often stereotyped that bullies are the big kids who can mentally and physically push kids around. Someone who bullies is insecure and wants power. They compensate their powerlessness (whether real or perceived) and immaturity with bullying, which gives them a temporary feeling of strength and control. Insecurities come in all sizes.

Fighting back doesn’t work with a bully.

Although fighting back will give a temporary satisfaction, it will always lead to escalation. Even a simple eye to eye “attitude” will lead to escalation. Getting back at the bully behind his or her back will end up in escalation. This increase in anger is never a good thing and can lead to someone getting physically hurt.

Ignoring a bully does work.

Bullies want a reaction. They want to see and feel the power they have over someone else. If a bully doesn’t get a reaction, when the victim does not acknowledge them in any way, the bully will move on. What if every child could let a bully “role off his back”? What if every ego of a bully starved? Could that in itself create a bully extinction?

Parental attitudes have a big influence.

If parents talk in judgment of others, their children will learn the same. When parents talk with respect to differences in others and that all people have equal value, their children will believe the same. When parents deal with the act of bullying with zero tolerance, their children will do the same.

Cyber-bullying is just as hurtful.

As we know, much will be said by cyber that would not have normally been said in person. And contrary to belief, cyber bullying almost always happens after a face to face bullying. In a then-escalated situation, the harassment and hurtful verbiage gets damaging and even viral, very fast. The victim will often not be with his or her support group when reading the bullying, thus adding to the harm. The devastation to the victim is often deeper and more consequential when done through the cyber way. Cyber-bullying is on the rise, and it it should be taken seriously. How nice would it be to have a non-bully culture — a culture whereas anyone would defend and speak up against the bully?

Do not rely on your school's “no bullying” policy.

The reality is that very little is brought to the attention of teachers and administrators. Most bullying happens at school, and the fact is most episodes do not get reported. When bullying does get reported, schools are often too bogged down to deal with each one individually. It is surprising how often teachers and counselors turn their cheeks, or parents tell their children to “toughen up.” This dismissal of the problem is part of the problem. Our “no bullying” responsibilities fall on teachers, parents and administrators. The peer secrecy is not going to change. It is our job to have our eyes wide open, to be defenders and advocates.

Any subject, any grade: What is your question for a tutor? Email [email protected].

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors. The opinions expressed are her own.

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