Your Grandchildren and Bullying
Bullying is a serious problem for millions of children and teenagers in the United States today, particularly in the public middle and high school environment. If you are concerned about your grandchildren being bullied and would like to understand more fully what you can do to help, there are plenty of useful resources available to you.
The first step toward discovering a lasting solution involves learning how to become aware of what is going on before it becomes a serious problem. Observe your grandchild’s behavior before and after school, at the park with friends and at home when no one else is around. Discuss any issues that may have come up throughout the day in a way that is welcoming, never accusatory, and always understanding. When you discuss delicate issues like this, it’s critical that the child feel safe enough to be truthful no matter what.
When it comes to playing the part of the bully and making others feel poorly about themselves, some children seem predisposed to and comfortable with dishing it out and piling it on. This may be caused by any number of hidden issues, including everything from an unstable home life, a specific problem with a friend or family member, a belief that bullying is “cool” or even just the simple desire to make people feel smaller, less significant than they are.
For children on the receiving end, everyday life can prove daunting and miserable, especially if the bully insists on picking fights or making fun of their target at a regular time every single day. When lunchtime rolls around and a child knows that he or she will inevitably be teased or pushed around in line, that child begins to dread the lunchroom, the people there and even mealtime itself. If incidents typically tend to occur only in the locker room before or after gym class, the student may ultimately decide to skip class rather than submit to the abuse.
When teachers, bus drivers and other staff witness incidents involving bullies at school, it is their responsibility to intervene. Unfortunately, however, some think it is normal, that kids will be kids and that some form of bully behavior is to be expected. Obviously, these kinds of scenarios can lead to major problems both immediately and in the long term, potentially affecting a child’s education and self-esteem. Sustained bullying can cause problems with social relationships as an adult and even increase risk of illness later in life. This is why it’s so important to have a plan, an effective strategy to overcome these obstacles from the very start. With your help, campus counselors, teachers and qualified therapists can all contribute to the development of a long term solution.