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May 04, 2011

How to raise a child who’s NOT a bully

By Jessica Kelmon

Bullying is on the rise. It’s been all over the news lately.  More and more victims are stepping forward to share their stories – and they’re horrifying. Our hearts melt. Collectively, we wonder how on earth this can happen. Secretly, many of us squeeze our eyes shut and hope the awful school bully will never be our kid. Just hoping your kid won't be a bully won’t work, but new research shows that there are two simple parenting strategies that will:

1)      Knowing your child’s friends

2)      Having a free exchange of ideas with your child

Dr. Rashmi Shetgiri, assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Texas Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, analyzed data from two massive CDC phone surveys of 46,000 parents. The first survey was in 2003, the second in 2007. Dr. Shetgiri and her team of researchers dove into the results to identify bullying trends over time.  Here’s what they found:

  • Parents play a key role in whether their child is a bully. Period.
  • Meeting your child’s friends is even more effective in preventing bullying now than it was in 2003. Basically, it’s a must. Researchers don't know exactly why this is the case, but it seems to be a good indication of high parental involvement, which Dr. Shetgiri says is key to preventing bullying.
  • A free exchange of ideas means having an open communication style. When parents reported communicating “very well” or “well” with their children, the kids were less likely to be bullies.
  • The number of kids who bully is on the rise: In 2003, 23 percent of children had bullied another child. In 2007, that rate had increased to 35 percent.
  • There’s reason to worry about kids who bully: About one in five has an emotional, developmental, or behavioral problem (more than three times the rate in non-bullies).
  • Good students aren’t the culprit: Kids who usually or always complete their homework are less likely to bully.
  • Language is not the issue: Children who live in non-English-speaking homes are less likely to bully.

Sadly, there are two factors that show a consistently strong link to bullying behavior in children. Not surprisingly, they both have to do with parents. Children are more likely to be bullies if their parents often feel angry at – or even bothered by – them.  Maternal mental health is also a factor: Children are more likely to bully if their mothers have even minor mental health issues.

It would be a shame if this information were used as an excuse to stigmatize parents. Remember, it takes a village. How can we make sure parents get the resources they need – for themselves and for their children – so we can put an end to bullying?  

Comments

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Well the Schools should NOT allow it!!! My childrens school puts up with it, and my daughter is the VICTIM!! I have done everything I can to work with the school, and yet the school refuses to do anything about the BULLY!!! -FED UP!

Jen, Your are right to be angry. Nobody should ever be bullied. It is an unacceptable behavior. A good School has positive dynamics where all kids are respected for their differences....you need to either find a school that respects basic human values or if that is not an option, go to the school where she is being bullied and make a stand. Insist on dignity for your daughter and dont give up. Stay on top of it. We mothers need to start demanding better for our children and for society in general. Mothers have power that as of today,remain unrealized and under utilized. Danielle

More about Anti-Bullying in the book Resilient Children by Pam Farkas.

Resiliency is the ability to overcome adversity and to bounce back in the face of difficulty, challenge and stress. Resiliency is a positive outlook and approach to life that contributes to building durable social and emotional well-being.

Just like adults, children have to cope with unexpected problems and difficulties. Some of these life stressors could be from poverty, family turmoil, divorce, abuse, homelessness, chronic illness, or bullying. Or it could simply be trying to make a new friend, solve a problem, or express feelings.

The 6 resiliency skills are protective factors that address the risk factors that negatively impact a child’s life. When children develop effective resiliency skills they are less at risk for being overwhelmed, becoming isolated and withdrawn, engaging in high-risk or self-abusing behaviors, underachieving in school, or becoming depressed.

Resilient Children is an activity book for developing the six vital skills that are essential building blocks of resiliency for Ages 5-12. Resilient Children is now available for purchase.

Visit http://www.resilient-children.com to find out more information.

Child imitates the behavior of parents and child that he usually leaves of another children not feeling well and sometimes feeling leaves at his home. The school should review each case and ךקא help to leave child

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