Almost everyone at on time or another in life has been part of the bully cycle. We’ve all been bullied or bullies. It would seam that dealing with a bully is a normal part of growing up, but just because something is common or normal doesn’t make it any less hurtful to the victim. It’s important to understand the large scale of the bullying problem. Statistics indicate that 77 percent of students are bullied at school and cyber bullying statistics are approaching similar numbers. Furthermore, it’s estimated that every seven minutes a child is bullied. These instances have a dramatic impact on the students lives as well as on society.
For parents the issue is more complicated because it’s something with a strong negative impact that is not easily addressed. It’s difficult for parents to know what to do about bullying at school because, while it impacts the home-life, the events themselves happen outside of the home and away from the parent’s direct influence. To deal with the problem, parents must teach children how to resolve the problem themselves.
This is where it becomes difficult because there is no universally accepted best response to bullying. Some argue that it is imperative for the child to not fight back as this will continue a cycle of violence. Others take the position that the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them. Studies differ on the issue, however, it is important to prepare children to deal with conflict resolution one way or another.
A vital fact is that just because a child is being bullied, this does not mean that the parents will be able to help, because too often children do not report the full extent of abuse they suffer. According to a 2004 study called the Youth Voice Research Project, less than half of the students who receive moderate to severe abuse from bullies tell an adult at school. The study conducted by Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon, Ph.D is cited as the first large- scale national effort asking young people who have been bullied and mistreated by their peers about the effects of different responses to their bullies and actions taken by adults at school, and by other students.
The survey studied the effectiveness of different responses to bullying and found significant difference in the outcomes. Davis and Nixon found that ignoring the problem is not effective, the student telling the bully to stop was equally ineffective, and simply walking away would only slightly improve the situation at school. The Youth Voice Project found that the most helpful action for the student was to talk to an adult at home, followed by telling a friend or an adult at school. As for fighting back, The study found mixed results. The survey found that when a student fought back, things got better 31 percent of the time, while things got worse 49 percent of the time. From these results, it’s clear that the question of how to deal with a bully is not easy and the best response is dependent on the nature of a specific situation. To fight back or not? It depends; there is no one answer to all students and all situations. What is clear though is that the role of a supportive adult is the most important thing in a young person’s life and the best tool for dealing with a bully. The best way to help your child is to talk to them.
The Youth Voice Project