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A 12-year-old reports being bullied at the bus stop. The bullying has escalated to pushing and shoving. What impact can this experience have on the child, and what should the parents do about it?

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Introduction

A 12-year-old reports being bullied at the bus stop. The bullying has escalated since the new school year started and now includes pushing and shoving. The child being bullied is small in stature compared to the other 6th graders. What impact can this experience have on the child (boy or girl), and what should the parents do about it? Every day in our schools, children are threatened, teased, taunted, and tormented by bullies. At any given time, about 25 percent of U.S. students are the victims of bullies and about 20 percent are engaged in bullying behavior (Education World, 2000). The National Association of School Psychologists estimates that 160,000 children stay home from school every day because they are afraid of being bullied (Education World, 2000). Bullying is characterized by three criteria(NCPTB, 2003): It is aggressive behavior or the intent to harm, It is carried out repeatedly and over time; and It occurs within an interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power. The 12-year old in this case has definitely been a victim of bullying. Bullying can be direct or indirect. ...read more.

Middle

Constant self-devaluation may lead to depression and suicide. Anxious, distressed, unhappy, depressed, or tearful when he/she comes homes from school. May lose interest in school work and experience a decline in academic performance. It is important to note there are often severe affects of bullying. In Why Kids Kill: Exploring the Causes and Possible Solutions, Sylvia Rimm, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, identifies a common trait among the violent children she's worked with: "There was always a history of problems in peer relationships," Rimm said. "All of them [children who expressed anger violently] had been teased by others more than what is typical." All the violent children, in other words, had been the victims of bullies (Rimm, 2000). Victims of bullying often suffer lifelong problems with low self-esteem. They are prone to depression, suicide, and other mental health problems throughout their lives (Education World, 2000). What should the parents do about this? Parents should encourage the child to share their feelings with them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Schools can also adopt a no-blame policy. In some schools, a victim of bullying reports the situation to a coordinator, who then talks to the bully and any witnesses. There is a meeting between the victim and the bully to air their differences. Then an action plan is drawn up to solve the problem. This approach is based on the theory that being nice to people brings out the best in them and is less punitive than some other solutions. Some students also seem to feel freer to report a bully if they know he or she won't be punished (Education World, 2000). I don't know what state the 12-year-old victim lives in, but in California, children who are bullied by classmates can get stay-away orders issued against the aggressors. Passed in 1998, the law provides for stay-away orders that allow police officers to arrest violators for making telephone contact, mailing letters, or coming within a specified distance of the victim (Education World, 2000). It sounds extreme, but it may be necessary. ...read more.

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