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.
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.
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.
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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