Your first inkling that something is wrong might be when your kindergartner says, “I hate school and I don't want to go anymore!” Or maybe your school-loving second grader suddenly develops mysterious bellyaches every weekday morning. Perhaps it's the dark bruise on your seventh grader's upper arm and his sudden desire to quit the soccer team.
No matter how a child's bullying comes to light, the knowledge is likely to ignite powerful and often conflicting emotions. You may be furious at the bully and have the desire to march right over to school to give “that kid” a taste of his own medicine. You may feel sad that your child has endured cruelty at the hands of one or more of his classmates or feel frustration that your child isn't able to stick up for himself. On top of all that, you may feel completely unsure of what to do next.
It's natural to want to protect your child from bullies. But the unfortunate truth is that many parents don't know what to do to help. Should you let your child handle it? Do you complain to the teacher? Call the parents of the abusive child? The last thing you want to do is make it worse for your child.
No doubt those of you who have a few unpleasant memories of being bullied as kids remember that sick-to-your-stomach feeling of anxiety at what awaited you on the bus, at school, or in the neighborhood play yard. The thought that your child may currently be experiencing similar pain and humiliation can be difficult to bear.
One of the reasons bullying has been able to thrive for so long is that it continues to remain under the radar of most parents and school personnel. When bullying behavior is discovered, it's often dismissed with the attitude that boys will be boys or that it's no big deal. That attitude is harmful and leaves your child feeling like he's all alone. But he's not alone — he has you.
Bullying can be stopped. And this book will teach you, the parents, how to stop it. The more you learn about what bullying is — how, where, and why it happens, why it happens to specific groups of kids, the difference between bullying among boys and girls, why cyber bullying is a growing problem, what to do if you suspect your child is being bullied (or is bullying), and why bullying continues on every playground, in every lunchroom, and in every neighborhood play yard despite a growing awareness of the tragic personal and societal ramifications — the better prepared you will be to help your child.
The good news is that researchers and public policy makers are beginning to see bullying for what it is — peer abuse. When normal, good-natured childhood teasing and taunting escalates into constant mocking that is hurtful and unkind or turns physically aggressive, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop. It's abuse — plain and simple. And regardless of whether the bullying is verbal, physical, or emotional, it needs to stop.
Regardless of whether your child is being bullied, is the one engaged in bullying behavior, or is a bystander, this book will help you stop the mistreatment by providing effective, practical tips and suggestions that will give all kids and parents hope for a bully-free future.