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Is your teen the bully or the victim?
Bullying and cyberbullying are when someone hurts or scares another person repeatedly, maliciously, and intentionally. The behavior is never appropriate.
The old cliché of “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you” couldn’t be more inaccurate. Today, teens and children are being harassed verbally to a point that the emotional scarring can lead to suicidal thoughts and some actually to death.
Bullied to death. The news and headlines are a perfect example of the escalated bullying and cyberbullying that is happening in our country. It is time that parents step in and step up to the plate. Get help from anti-bullying groups in your schools and communities. Learn about your School Climate and get involved. Education is key to prevention and it begins at home.
Bullying comes in different forms:
- Physical Bullying is the most obvious form of intimidation and can consist of hitting, kicking, biting, pinching, hair pulling, and other forms of physical abuse. A bully may threaten to punch you if you don’t give up something you have and they want such as your lunch or your money.
- Verbal Bullying often accompanies physical behavior and threats. This can include name calling, harassing, and spreading rumors or gossip.
- Emotional Intimidation is closely related to physical and verbal bullying. A bully may deliberately exclude you from a school outing or a group party that all of your friends are attending.
- Racist Bullying can take many forms, ie. making racial slurs, spray painting graffiti, mocking the victim’s cultural customs, and making offensive gestures.
- Sexual Bullying is unwanted physical contact or abusive/inappropriate comments.
- Sexual Preference Bullying: Teens who are gay will especially suffer from vicious verbal, emotional, and physical attacks. As we have seen too many times, the ending can be tragic. Parenting is teaching tolerance and acceptance.
- Cyberbullying is when one or a group of kids or teens uses an electronic means via computers and cell phones (social media, texting, emails, websites, chat rooms, or instant messaging) to torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, embarrass, or target another child or teen.
- Sexting is another form of cyberbullying in which usually unflattering or humiliating pictures of oneself are spread virally to a large group. These pictures are commonly sexual in nature and not intended for worldwide viewing.
Parents need to teach their children to be upstanders.
What is an upstander? Why is it important to consider when we think about bullying?
An upstander is someone who says “no” to bullying. In virtually all bully-victim situations, there are witnesses who view or know about the act. We want to make sure our kids are part of a community where everyone–kids and grownups alike–makes the decision to be an upstander, rather than a passive bystander who does nothing.
For more information on bullying and cyberbullying, visit the following websites:
If you feel your teen is the victim of bullying or cyberbullying, as difficult as it can be, try to get them to talk about it. An adolescent therapist may be needed if you see that your teen or child is becoming more withdrawn and secretive.
Many parents are not aware of the emotional damage bullying or cyberbullying can have on their teen. It can be long lasting and may escalate to a point of depression, suicidal thoughts, or other negative behavior. It is critical to get them the help they may need.
P.U.R.E.™ invites you to fill out a free consultation form for more information on finding the appropriate help for your teen.