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"How to Stop Bullying" by Gail Matthews

Page 2 of 48

Please Read This First

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This Electronic book is Copyright © 2009. All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or

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Disclaimer

The advice contained in this material might not be suitable for everyone.

The author obtained the information from sources believed to be reliable

and from his own personal experience, but he neither implies nor intends

any guarantee of accuracy.

The author, publisher and distributors never give legal, accounting,

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seek those services from competent professionals that can review their

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Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

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"How to Stop Bullying" by Gail Matthews

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Contents

Please Read This First ......................................................................................2

Terms of Use ................................................................................................................ 2

Disclaimer...................................................................................................................... 2

Contents....................................................................................................................3

About the Author.................................................................................................5

Introduction ...........................................................................................................6

What Is Bullying?................................................................................................7

Types of Bullying ............................................................................................................ 8

Who are the Bullies? .......................................................................................12

Where do Adult Bullies come from? ................................................................. 13

Causes of Bullying ............................................................................................14

Violent Games and Movies.................................................................................... 15

Why Bullies Target Particular Children................................................19

The Effects of Bullying ...................................................................................20

Should Your Child Change Schools? ................................................................. 20

Home Schooling ............................................................................................................ 21

How Do Children Become Victims? ........................................................23

The Onlookers .....................................................................................................24

How to Help Your Own Children ..............................................................26

Giving Advice to Children.......................................................................................... 26

Promoting Tolerance............................................................................................... 27

Signs that your Child may be a Target.................................................29

When Your Child has been Bullied..........................................................31

Dealing with the Bully and their Parents ....................................................... 31

Dealing with Your Child’s School.............................................................33

When Your Child tells You about Bullying .........................................35

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"How to Stop Bullying" by Gail Matthews

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Why Children Don’t tell Adults about Bullying................................................. 36

Helping Your Child to Handle Bullies. ...................................................38

Responding to Verbal Bullying. .............................................................................. 38

Improve the Child’s Social Skills. .......................................................................... 40

Are Martial Arts Courses Helpful? ......................................................................... 42

You’re NOT Alone ..............................................................................................43

Internet Resources...................................................................................................... 43

AUSTRALIA:................................................................................................................ 43

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.............................................................................. 45

CANADA........................................................................................................................ 45

United Kingdom ........................................................................................................ 45

The Next Step......................................................................................................47

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

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"How to Stop Bullying" by Gail Matthews

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About the Author

Gail Matthews is a concerned parent, not an academic. Gail is been

concerned about the problem of bullying in schools which her children

attended.

She started to look for further information and was surprised at the

extent and serious effects that were linked to bullying from children and also adults who had been bullied or were bullied in their adult lives.

Gail decided to focus her book on bullying of children because that

was the area she has had some direct experience with.

She felt there was a need for a simple, non-technical guide with

suggestions that could be used by parents like herself wherever they were located.

She believes that this book will help people to assist their children

by encouraging them not to bully others and how to best deal with bullies they encounter.

Gail also shows parents some signs that may indicate that children

are being silent about bullying they encounter.

She also includes some suggestions about how to support the

efforts of their schools and other groups to reduce bullying and deal with its effects.

Gail believes the information which she has gathered will be useful

to people, whatever their situation and location. She says that bullying is a world-wide, growing epidemic.

She hopes her book will encourage parents and other interested

people to take action about bullying and support its victims so that we can reduce the effects which bullying has on our society and our children’s

future.

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

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"How to Stop Bullying" by Gail Matthews

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Introduction

This book is intended to show parents who care how to help their

children and also how you might be able to make a positive difference in

the lives of all the children at the schools which they attend.

I will help you to understand, prepare for and deal with the most

common types of bullying.

All parents have a personal stake in reducing and, where possible,

preventing bullying in their children’s schools and their neighborhood.

The effects of bullying can be very deeply felt and long-lasting.

Some victims never fully recover. There have been some incidents

where bullying has resulted in someone taking their own life and even

those of other people who were not ever part of the bullying itself.

The rapid growth of the Internet and high-speed communication by

mobile phones and other easily available methods has seen a huge

increase in bullying where the bully and the victim may be miles apart.

But, the effects can be just as bad.

We cannot prevent all bullying and I don’t believe that we can

stamp it out.

But, for the sake of our children and communities, we need to take

an active part in reducing its effects and helping our children.

Gail Matthews 2009

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

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What Is Bullying?

Most people know that

bullying involves physical or

emotional abuse of someone by

another person who is more

powerful. That person may be

stronger physically or emotionally

or have a position which gives

them the opportunity to dominate

the victim.

A bully is not interested in a

physical or mental contest. A bully

acts against someone that they

believe cannot or will not be able to stop them doing whatever they want

to.

Most bullies make repeated attacks and demands on their victims

but even a single incident can be harmful to the person that is targeted.

Bullying usually occurs when the bully tries to demonstrate that

they or their group are superior in some way to the person they victimize.

They look for a target that is likely to offer little resistance and to

react in a way which will make the bully feel superior.

Bullies often browse the school yard near the beginning of the year,

looking for potential victims.

Most bullies seek to feed their own ego, some seek power over the

victim to get them to do their bidding and a dangerous few actually enjoy hurting their victims.

But, all bullying in whatever form can and usually does inflict

damage which can affect the victim and also sometimes those close to

them for years.

Bullies may approach their victims in any part of the school, even in

areas where adults may be present. But, most attacks occur when adults

are not about.

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Boys are likely to bully both sexes while girls mostly bully other

girls.

Bullies will probably have other potential victims in mind and will

switch to another target on their mental list when and if the current victim gets help or starts to assert themselves.

Victims may be targets of the same bully over a long period and are

also likely to be targeted by other bullies in later years that also recognize the vulnerability.

Types of Bullying

Bullying occurs in schools, businesses, all kinds of organizations and

groups and, unfortunately, also in many homes.

It can take many forms, physical or psychological

and each can result in long-term negative effects which

may not be obvious until long after the actual bullying

episodes.

The most common types of bullying are explained below.

Verbal harassment: This could range from teasing

to deeply offensive insults. Be aware that teasing, which

many people regard as a minor annoyance, can inflict real

hurt on the victims.

The bully will usually target the other child’s ethnic

background, clothing, speech, appearance, mode of speech or sexuality.

The venom in the words will have added sting because of the bully’s

manner and implied physical threat.

Violence: This is probably the most common type of bullying

behavior. It can vary from:

Theft: Bullies might steal their victim’s property just to upset them, because they want the item or so they can sell or trade it with other

children.

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Physical harassment: This may range from annoying pushes and

pokes to actual sexual assault. The amount of sexual harassment

experienced by older school children has surprised researchers.

Damage to personal property: Bullies will sometimes destroy

personal property as a means of intimidating their victim. Sometimes they will target the victim’s homework, textbooks and other study material

which can cause trouble for the victim with their teachers when they are

unwilling to explain why their work is not up to standard and their books are damaged.

Threats: The victim may be threatened with physical attack or

other punishment just for the effect on them or it may be used as a

means to get the victim to agree to do something which they would not

normally do, such as stealing or whatever else the bully wants them to.

When the child does what the bully has demanded, they think they

have no option but to do whatever the bully demands of them later on

because they fear exposure of the original theft they were forced to do.

Social exclusion: This

is where the bully and the

group which supports him or

her prevent the victim from

enjoying their company or

taking part in their activities.

This discrimination in

social situations by actions or

threats which exclude the

victim from a group or activity

without good cause was

described as one of the most

hurtful forms of bullying.

There is no physical damage but the emotional impact is intense and

continuing.

It is commonly accepted that girls may use this more often than

actual physical attacks.

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The victim has to watch the interaction of the group every day while

knowing that they cannot take part.

It can be equally devastating for a male victim as the desire to be

part of the group is very strong for both sexes.

The enforced loneliness is made worse by the knowledge that there

is no good reason for them being excluded.

Hazing: Some groups require anyone that wishes to become a member to submit to rituals or activities, sometimes called “hazing”, that may be

degrading, involve violence and even be dangerous.

The successful participants endure the experience for the chance to

be accepted in the group. Then, they take part in the initiation of future prospective members.

This may be regarded by some people as a form of ritualized

bullying but the members would say it is “just a tradition”.

Long distance intimidation:

Most bullying occurs in face-to-face

situations but there has always been

some bullying which was done over a

distance.

Some bullies used to mail poison-

pen letters or secretly insert notes with

similar content into their victims’ bags

or lockers. That way, they could be far

away when the target opened and read

the message.

But, the development and spread

of low-cost technology has encouraged

a significant and growing amount of

bullying where the target or victim is contacted on their own mobile phone or similar device or over the Internet with a text or verbal message.

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

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The bully can deliver threats or lies and slurs with, usually, much

less chance of being called to account.

The letters and scrawled notes could be just torn up and disposed

of, but the electronic messages are much harder to ignore and their vile

contents can be sent to hundreds of people in a few minutes. Sometimes,

a bully will send dozens of messages in a short period of time, aiming to cause maximum distress.

A related form of harassment which is affecting more children, and

even adults, each year is the spreading of malicious and usually untrue

comments and stories about them through messages to third parties in

internet chat rooms.

This can be particularly hard to deal with because the victim may

not even know that this is happening until a friend tells them about a

message they’ve seen.

By that time, the messages and rumors could have been read by

hundreds of people and spread even more widely.

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Who are the Bullies?

It's disappointing but

true that almost every child or

adult has the potential within

them to be a bully. Even if

they do not take that role,

they could become part of a

group that support a bully,

either actively or passively, in

their attacks.

Some children or adults

that may not usually try to

intimidate anyone will bully

others when they get an

opportunity to exert power

over another individual and believe they have little chance of ever having to be accountable for their actions.

This is like people that are honest in all their day-to-day activities

but might take money from a wallet or purse which they find in the street if they believe that there is little chance that they could be found out.

Sometimes, a child may use bully tactics on another child to gain

some advantage without understanding that they are bullying them. They

might say, “It was just a bit of fun” because they do not realize or care about the possible negative effect on their victim.

In a later section, I will explain some ways that you might use to

help your children learn how to recognize and avoid using these tactics in their interactions with other children.

No form of bullying is ever excusable because there are always

negative effects on the person who is targeted.

Children who bully others are more likely to become involved in

petty crime in their adolescence and adult lives. They may also bully their friends and partners in later life.

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"How to Stop Bullying" by Gail Matthews

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Some children, who themselves have been bullied by other children

or in their home environment, may react by starting to use the same

tactics themselves on other children or their

own younger siblings.

Most bullies prey on other children because:

It gives them a feeling of power.

They attract other children into their

group who support their actions. They

will then also manipulate them these

other children to do what they want.

Where do Adult Bullies come from?

According to the research I’ve seen,

bullying is supposed to decrease as people

move through their teen years and on into adult life.

But, it does not disappear. Bullying occurs through all areas of adult

life, personal and business.

Some of it is the work of people that were bullies when they were

young, but there is another group who bully other people when they have

a chance to; people that bear the scars from being a victim and later on

begin to use the tactics which were used on them against others. This

includes their partners and often their children as well.

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Causes of Bullying

There is no definitive list of factors which cause children to become

bullies.

For every bully whose parents or carers were indifferent to their

needs or insensitive to their desires, there is also a person whose early home-life was similar but who grew up with a more balanced and caring

attitude.

But, most researchers believe that parents are the most powerful

influence in the development of bullying behaviors in children.

The first and

most important way is

by the example they

set in how they treat

other people and, of

course, their own

family.

Parents who commit themselves to finding time to listen to and

support their children while providing a safe environment with clear and

consistent rules will give their children a great start in life.

Parents and other people that influence children may encourage the

development of bully characteristics if they:

Express racist or other anti-social views.

Give one of their children more favorable treatment than others.

Ignore aggressive acts by a child against their siblings or other children

Demonstrate by actions or words that they have a low opinion of a child’s abilities.

Put family time at the bottom of their priority list.

Make sarcastic comments about their child’s ideas and accomplishments.

Bully their partners, children or friends.

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Fail to set guidelines for their children when they are dealing with family members or other people.

Parents and other role models are a major influence on the child’s

developing attitudes and actions.

A school which tolerates or ignores any bullying incidents will

encourage the development of systematic bullying that will become very

hard to remove.

Children who have been bullied at school sometimes become bullies

themselves.

Violent Games and Movies

Children have always been entertained with stories that involved

violence and other anti-social behavior.

Over many years, a multitude of books, comics, radio shows,

movies, television programs and computer games have, in their turn,

been criticized as unsuitable or even harmful to children.

Through the years, almost all boys and many girls have copied the

actions and attitudes of their favorite fictional characters in games with their friends at school and in their homes.

This usually has not had any negative affect on them but there

have always been a few incidents where particularly aggressive children

have upset or deliberately harmed others while acting out their own

versions of the stories they had seen.

It's probably no surprise that some researchers say that children

feel more assertive just after they have seen a violent story. But, they are usually able to release the pent-up energy in games with their friends.

It's possible that children who do not have friends and spend their

time mostly using their computer or watching television may be more

negatively affected by their bottled-up hostility.

During the time that home computers and the Internet have

become more easily accessible to most families, the technology behind

computer games and movies has improved and they now are able to

affect the viewers’ emotions with greater force.

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More people have started asking if these forms of entertainment

might exert a strong negative influence on very impressionable people,

especially children, to copy the aggression which they see being used to

achieve successful outcomes with minimum effort or risk.

The claim is often heard that many movies and computer games

encourage bullying and other antisocial behavior.

There was actually a game called “Bully” released in 2006 by and

American videogame company called Rockstar Games. In the original

game, the teenage “hero” used bullying tactics against other pupils and

teachers. He pushed other characters heads into toilets, assaulted them in various ways and also took compromising photos of some of them.

After pressure from teachers and parents, some stores did decide

not to sell the game. But, that did not prevent “bully” winning awards. The publicity probably helped the game to achieve a higher level of sales than it might have otherwise.

Sales were so good that an updated version was released in 2008.

The later version was released in the United Kingdom with a rating

that allowed it to be sold to children 15 years and over.

The major retailers said that they would abide by the rating but

none refused to sell the new version.

Critics said that this would mean that much younger children would

also be able to get hold of the game fairly easily. Even if their own parents refused to let them get their own copy, many would get access when they

visited the homes of their friends who had the game.

The updated version is also available for use on the newer game

consoles, such as the Xbox and Wii.

It was described by a spokesman for the Rock star Games software

company as “one of the funniest games you will play.”

A review on a web site described it as a “light-hearted depiction of

high school”.

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Tactics used by the main character in the new version include hand

to hand fighting, exploding firecrackers on the face of another character as well as using itching powder and stink bombs.

While the market-place rewards producers of games like this with

substantial profits, some companies will continue to produce and market

them.

Criticism that does not result in restrictions is seen by the

companies as valuable free publicity.

There is, as far as I know, no proof that this sort of entertainment

encourages the average player to use the same tactics in their own

schools and other places.

But, the effect of this material on less well adjusted players is

claimed by some researchers and parents to be an unacceptable risk.

They say that the problem is greater because:

The violent characters are the most successful and suffer no penalty for their activities.

The blood, pain and other physical effects on the victims is not shown or is minimized to comply with current legislation. That can

give the viewers the impression that the effects from even the most

violent incidents are only minor. I remember seeing many Westerns

when I was young where almost everybody who was killed by bullet

or arrow usually died smiling without the slightest hint of

discomfort!

The amount of this kind of entertainment which many children see is much greater than it was even a few years ago. Television is

sometimes referred to as the “electronic babysitter”. The new

computer games and other similar devices are fulfilling the same

function in many homes because it’s becoming more common for

both parents to have to work to support their family.

There is less parental involvement or supervision of what children are exposed to. Many children have their own televisions,

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computers and game consoles along with enough money to buy

whatever games or videos they want to.

Some restrictions are needed to protect younger, very impressionable

children from excessive violence and other antisocial behavior as it is

sometimes depicted (some say glorified).

But, current research has not found any proof of a link between the

games and movies and antisocial behavior, except in isolated cases which

usually involve players that had significant emotional problems before

they started playing the games and watching the videos.

It will continue to be the responsibility of parents to promote values

which could reduce the influence of these diversions on their children.

The exposure of children to repeated and overwhelming violence in

news programs and documentaries is also believed by some researchers

to encourage the development of bullying attitudes in some aggressive

children.

There is so much concentration on negative stories by some news

media that a friend describes their programs as “3D news”. She says that

they are full of death, disaster and destruction.

There is little chance that this imbalance, which offers little that is

inspirational or reassuring, will change because these sorts of stories give the media high ratings and their advertiser’s great sales figures.

Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

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Why Bullies Target Particular Children

The main reason that

bullies target particular

children is because they see

characteristics which lead

them to believe that those

children will respond in a

submissive or frightened way

that will feed the bully’s ego

and achieve their other aims if

they have them.

The bully will say that

their attack is based on some

real or imagined difference

between themselves and the

potential victim. That can be the bully’s genuine though biased view but, at its core, it is really just an excuse for the bully to justify his action against the Victim.

The bully is really attracted to certain children because of their

attitude. Victims act in particular ways which draw bullies to them.

The next question is, “Why do bullies continue to attack some

victims many times?” It is because they get the reaction which feeds their ego?

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The Effects of Bullying

It is important to realize that the type or extent of the bullying is

not as important as the effect on the victim.

A child can suffer significant damage over time from what may

seem to be a very minor and isolated incident.

It is the child’s perception of the event and how we can all help

them to overcome any effects which must be the focus.

When a child is bullied, their self-image is likely to be damaged.

Their confidence in themselves and belief in the values which you have

helped them to build will be tested.

The old saying, "Sticks and stones will break my

bones but names will never hurt me", is false.

Words can wound and have negative effects for

the victim for a long time, just like a physical

attack. A major effect felt by many victims and

even some onlookers is stress. This can be so

great that it may affect their underlying health.

Stress can increase the severity of asthma and

some skin conditions.

The inability to escape the torment or

resist the attack can lead to depression which is increased by the

knowledge that it is very likely that there will be further unpleasant

episodes in the future.

Should Your Child Change Schools?

Sometimes, the effects of bullying can have such severe impact

that the parents may decide to move their child to another school or even their whole family to a different area.

This will have financial and social costs, disrupt the learning

routines of all their children and disrupt the family routine for months.

There is also the possibility that the new school will be no safe

harbor if the child does not get some help to address the causes and

effects of the incident.

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If the child carries the same anxieties and attitudes into their new

school, they are likely to be targeted by a bully in the new location.

All schools have bullies and they can sense when a susceptible

person comes within their reach.

Try to find out whether there are any children at the new school

who are already known and liked by your child. That could make the

decision easier and give the change a much better chance of success. But, it will still take time, measured in months, before you will be able to fairly judge if it has been worthwhile for the child and the whole family.

If the effect on the victim has been severe enough to warrant a

change to another school, they may need professional help to assist them

deal with those effects. The change will bring new challenges for

everyone but especially the child that was targeted.

Their self-confidence will need reassurance and their general health

will have to be watched. The adjustment to a new school will add more

pressures, whether or not the family has also moved to a new area.

I am not qualified to advise you on what’s best – consult your

health and education experts who know your details. All I want to do for you is to point out that a change of schools should not be taken without

considerable investigation and discussion about all factors. Make sure

that you include all your children in those discussions.

Home Schooling

Home schooling is another

option which is used by some

parents who have children that were

seriously affected by bullying.

If you have the financial and

time resources to provide quality

education experience for your child

(and perhaps any others in the family as well) it may be worth

considering.

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Bullies are not the only distraction which you avoid by home

schooling your child. You can give your child concentrated attention and

an average day’s lessons will probably be done in a shorter time than at a regular school where the teacher has to attend to the needs of a large

number of children.

You can give more time to those areas which are of particular

interest to your child or where hey need more help. You will not face the dilemma of most teachers about how to fairly divide their time and

attention to all the students in a class.

Most studies that have been done indicate that home-schooled

students get better than average marks in tests with children from all

kinds of other school systems.

Your child will probably have more contact with adults but you will

have to ensure that they get enough interaction with children around their own age so that their social development is not further affected. You will have more control over the children that they associate with – no bullies allowed!

Here are organizations in every country which can provide

information about the options and opportunities for home schooling.

State and Federal authorities also have information and copies of the

relevant rules etc.

Although home schooling has many supporters and there are many

success stories, the demands on the parents and the students are high.

If you decide to try homeschooling after investigating the costs and

legal requirements, I suggest that you give yourself an option to transfer your child to a regular school again at some time if you decide that it will be in their best interests or those of the entire family.

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How Do Children Become Victims?

Most bullies will target someone that they regard as different to

them and, therefore, not as good as they are.

This difference may be because of

their appearance, habits, cultural

background, manner of speaking,

physical characteristics or because

of some perceived physical or

mental impairment.

Children that attend other

schools or excel at their studies are

also likely to be targeted because

they make the bully more aware of

his or her own shortcomings in

those areas. Their prime targets

are children that appear weaker or

less socially connected than they are.

Sometimes, a child will accept some bullying in return for being

allowed to be part of the group which the bully controls. Many children

think they caused the bullying. This can be hard to discuss because they

are not likely to express the thought in words. The best way to address

this doubt might be to look for opportunities to give them sincere praise for something they do.

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The Onlookers

There are victims and there are bullies. Then, there are the

families of both these groups and also the people who have some formal

responsibility for supervising the children and ensuring their safety.

There is also another group of people that can have a great

influence on the extent of bullying in a school or community. They are the onlookers who witness the bullying. The group includes children and also adults.

You probably would expect that most people, especially adults,

would intervene to stop bullying which they witnessed, but this is not what happens in many incidents today. Bullying is not confined to the

shadows; many bullies have no hesitation about attacking their victim

wherever they are as long as there are no teachers or parents actually

present. Maybe it adds to the buzz which they get from bullying.

Generally, children react like many adults have done when they

have witnessed a disturbing or violent incident in the street. A significant number try to ignore it and avoid being noticed. Some of these children

are frightened that they may become a victim themselves while others

just don’t want to get involved. Some want to help the victim but don’t

know how to intervene effectively. Some, though usually very few, will

act to help the victim.

This group includes children that have well-balanced interpersonal

skills or the support of friends that provide them with positive values and support to act on them.

Some will try to argue with the bully. That is almost never effective

unless they also show they are prepared to actively help the victim by

defending them or by helping them to get away from their attacker.

Some will report the attack to a teacher or other person in

authority. That percentage is usually very low but even one with the

courage to do so can help to reduce the number of future incidents and

also provide support for the victim.

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