112th Precinct Community Council

Bullying is Child Abuse by Heidi Chain

Apr 08, 2007

Bullying is Child Abuse
Heidi Harrison Chain

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. One source of child abuse is bullying. Bullying isn?’t just part of growing up. Bullying can have harmful affects on the child being victimized. It also encourages criminal behaviors on the child being allowed to be the ?“bully?”.
Bullying is a result of an imbalance of power, and victimization. Bullying is defined as the situation when one individual or group of individuals repeatedly harass or attack another. It takes many forms including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats or intimidation, exclusion from groups, robbing of money or items, and can be perpetrated in person as well as over the internet. The Prevent Child Abuse America indicates on their website that nearly 160,000 children in the country stay home from school because of bullying.
Bullying in our schools can also be the breeding ground for crime against an individual child. Bullying can lead to shyness, low self esteem, poor academic performance, depression in the victim. According to a Michigan State University study, bullying is the most frequently occurring violence in schools.
The Prevent Child Abuse America lists ways for parents and adults to prevent the long term effects of being bullied. According to the prevent child Abuse America, many children who are bullied try to keep this a secret. The child may thing that acknowledging the problem will make it worse. Parents should look to see if the child comes home with bruises, with missing or damaged property, or missing money. The Child Welfare information group indicates that a child may lose interest in school. If the child also changes their route to or from school, or requests that the parents drive them this should also be a warning sign. The victim may become depressed , not want to go to school in the morning, and become unreasonable.
If a child suspects that their friend is being bullied, they should be encouraged to tell an adult. If a child witnesses someone being bullied or a fight, they should try to get help for the victim.
The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center has the following guidelines: What You Can Do? If You Are Being Bullied?…
Talk to your parents or an adult you can trust, such as a teacher, school counselor, or principal. Many teens who are targets of bullies do not talk to adults because they feel embarrassed, ashamed, or fearful, and they believe they should be able to handle the problem on their own. Others believe that involving adults will only make the situation worse. While in some cases it is possible to end bullying without adult intervention, in other more extreme cases, it is necessary to involve school officials and even law enforcement. Talk to a trusted adult who can help you develop a plan to end the bullying and provide you with the support you need. If the first adult you approach is not receptive, find another adult who will support and help you.
It's not useful to blame yourself for a bully's actions. You can do a few things, however, that may help if a bully begins to harass you. Do not retaliate against a bully or let the bully see how much he or she has upset you. If bullies know they are getting to you, they are likely to torment you more. If at all possible, use humor to defuse a situation

Act confident. Hold your head up, stand up straight, make eye contact, and walk confidently. A bully will be less likely to single you out if your project self-confidence.
Try to make friends with other students. A bully is more likely to leave you alone if you are with your friends. This is especially true if you and your friends stick up for each other.
Avoid situations where bullying can happen. If at all possible, avoid being alone with bullies. If bullying occurs on the way to or from school, you may want to take a different route, leave at a different time, or find others to walk to and from school with. If bullying occurs at school, avoid areas that are isolated or unsupervised by adults, and stick with friends as much as possible.
If necessary, take steps to rebuild your self-confidence. Bullying can affect your self-confidence and belief in yourself. Finding activities you enjoy and are good at can help to restore your self-esteem. Take time to explore new interests and develop new talents and skills. Bullying can also leave you feeling rejected, isolated, and alone. It is important to try to make new friendships with people who share your interests. Consider participating in extra-curricular activities or joining a group outside of school, such as an after-school program, church youth group, or sports team.
Do not resort to violence or carry a weapon. Carrying a weapon will not make you safer. Weapons often escalate conflicts and increase the chances you will be seriously harmed. You also run the risk that the weapon may be turned on you or an innocent person will be hurt. And you may do something in a moment of fear or anger you will regret for the rest of your life.
If Someone Else is Being Bullied?…
Refuse to join in if you see someone being bullied. It can be hard to resist if a bully tries to get you to taunt or torment someone, and you may fear the bully will turn on you if you do not participate, but try to stand firm.
Attempt to defuse bullying situations when you see them starting up. For example, try to draw attention away from the targeted person, or take the bully aside and ask him/her to "cool it." Do not place yourself at risk, however.
If you can do so without risk to your own safety, get a teacher, parent, or other responsible adult to come help immediately.
Speak up and/or offer support to bullied teens when you witness bullying. For example, help them up if they have been tripped or knocked down. If you feel you cannot do this at the time, privately support those being hurt with words of kindness or condolence later.
Encourage the bullied teen to talk with parents or a trusted adult. Offer to go with the person if it would help.Tell an adult yourself if the teen is unwilling to report the bullying. If necessary for your safety, do this anonymously

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