Myths about Bullying

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I have some fresh new material ready for you to read and share. Let's talk about some of the myths around bullying. Often, I work with parents that are misinformed or unaware of what bullying, conflict, and violence can do to their children. Its is important to stay educated and up to speed on all this stuff. Let's review some of the most common myths.

Teen Angst

Bully Myth #1: Bullying is one time individualized aggressive incident.

Bully Fact #1: Bullying is using your power to repeatedly harm someone over a period of time. If it happens once it is teasing. If you tease the perpetrator back it is conflict. Think about bullying as a behavior that lies on a spectrum. On one end there is teasing and conflict. On the opposite side there is harassment and violence.

Bully Myth #2: Bullying happens between only a bully and a victim.

Bully Fact #2: We need to get past these labels we put on kids. Now a days, kids shift in and out of these roles. They can be victimized and the next day bully someone. Sometimes, I will hear of a student being a bystander and then moving into the role of a bully. Labels are for things; roles are for people. When you are playing a role you can easily step in and out of character. That is what kids do.

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  Bully Myth #3: Anti-bullying policies are ineffective.

Bully Fact #3: If a policy is set in place and there is no process to follow...then yes it is ineffective. Policies are implemented to create awareness and not to cure the problem. We need better processes and programs to support bullying policies. Schools need some sort of policy to set boundaries and expectations to evaluate the seriousness of the behavior.

Bully Myth #4: Bullying is a normal part of childhood

Bully Fact #4: That is just wrong to think that way. Kids deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Bullying has evolved into harassment and repeated torture. Kids are more aggressive and have opportunities (less parent supervision, more time online) to stalk someone and bully them. That is not normal!

Bully Myth #5: Physical bullying is worse then emotional bullying

Bully Fact #5: Emotional bullying falls under relational aggression and is often referred to as "mean girl drama". It is also a myth that only girls gossip, share rumors, and exclude each other. The main point is that words hurt and you never forget about what has been said about you. Emotional scaring can last years and be detrimental for kids or teens' development, self-esteem, and confidence. What makes relational aggression so hard to tackle? Often multiple people and mediums are used to bully. It is hard to figure out who started it and who is involved. Often the stuff said on the playground or at school ends up online. Or worse it starts online and spreads like a viral infectious disease.

Harassing Note in Locker

Those are the top five misconceptions about bullying. I acknowledge  that It's been a while since I blogged. Between our bully programs starting all at once, being a new mom, and finishing up my Doctorate, I have hardly had time to breath, sleep, or think. I am back and ready to educate and share my bully knowledge. My goal is to start putting theory in practice. Let's test all those theories and strategies out there and get to some real solutions.

Thanks for reading my bully buster myths!

Until Next Time...

References: Swearer, M., Espelage, D., and Napolitano, S., (2009) Bullying Prevention & Intervention Realistic Strategies for Schools. New York:The Guildford Press.

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  • Myths About Bullying

    1. Schools and teachers care Most times they don't pretending not to see or understand and seeking to avoid involvement.
    2. Ignoring this helps. It emboldens bullies, demeans victims, and encourages others to bully.
    3. Don't fight For boys, it is critical that they assert themselves and fight if needed.
    4. Social skills don't matter. Victims get bullied frequently because of poor appearance and inadequate. They need to learn how to act and dress as part of a group. If you are a boy and disagree with someone or make an insensitive comment, be prepared to fight, if you say A you must say B. The time to exercise caution is when the comment is made, once the conflict arises, defend yourself.
    5. Fighting is easily learned. It is an important skill developed over time. Learn from a friend or family member who knows how to fight and first practice at home.
    6. As a boy you don't need to know how to fight. I don't like math, can I forget about it, how about science. Fighting like basic parts of education is a necessary part of childhood.
    7. My mommy can solve problems. Usually not.

  • Thanks for adding in these myths Bobby500. I would like to comment on your points:

    1- Teachers do care but they often don't know what to do and they don't see a lot of stuff when it comes to relational aggression (gossip, rumors, cyberbullying). Teachers need to be educated and learn about why and what they can do. So I agree that often teachers might not do enough to stop bullying.
    2-Agreed, ignoring bullying won't make it stop. Students need to find an ally and report the bullying to adults. They need to talk about it to someone who will listen and help them.
    3- I disagree with boys fighting back. You can protect yourself but fighting might escalate the incident to extreme violence. I have lived through losing my brother to fighting back and I know that people don't fight fair anymore. Retaliation and kids jumping people happens, so we can't think that fighting will fix problems.
    4- I agree that sometimes victims need to learn to protect themselves and build their self-esteem as well as self-confidence. By learning how to protect themselves and report the bullying, they can learn to defend themselves.
    5-I disagree violence is not the answer
    6-I disagree violence is not the answer
    7-Your mom can and when she knows what to do and how to stop bullying she can do something. Often kids/teens don't report bullying and parents are unaware of what really is going on that is why its important to tell your parents what is happening.

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