Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guest Blogger Kimberly Parker: My Child Is A Bully


Recent news headlines of how bullying is pervasive in schools all across the nation sounded the alarm in my heart and mind. What’s worse, such incidences have led to “bullycide.” Bullycide, according to Wikipedia, “refers to suicide attributable to the victim having been bullied.” I’m truly saddened that tragedy strikes our children in this manner. To think that a child feels such a sense of hopelessness should sadden us all.

While chatting with a parent not long ago, I began to share my thoughts and concerns on the subject. She, too, was concerned and thought that we should do something about it. After brainstorming for a moment, she suggested that we have a workshop in an attempt to bring awareness to other parents in the community. No longer, we felt, that the subject was taboo; the time was ripe to shed light on this not-so-often spoken of problem. Ironically, neither of us was aware that National Bullying Week was on the horizon.

I will be the first to admit that my expertise was not in “bullying prevention.” While I can speak about it from a victim perspective considering I was bullied from kindergarten through sixth grade, I was not equipped to impart information from the clinical vantage point. With that, I searched the internet and discovered tons of information. In the interest of time, I’ll merely highlight a few thoughts I pulled from a Power Point presentation entitled “Take a Stand Against Bullying”:

1. Bullying is an intentional written, verbal, or physical act that intimidates or subjects a person to hostility or ill treatment.

2. Bullying involves repeated actions which causes another to feel afraid, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened, or shamed.

3. There are four ways bullying happens: verbally, physically, sexually, or whereby property is extorted or vandalized.

4. There is typically an imbalance of power in the relationship whereby the culprit seeks control.

5. Bullying can lead to feelings of alienation, insecurity, anger, and fear. The victim can experience a drop in grades, weight loss or gain, headaches, and even suicide.

6. If you suspect your child is being bullied, talk to your child, contact the school, and/or notify the police. (NOTE: My mother never knew I was being bullied because I was afraid to tell her. I thought I was going to get in trouble and be blamed for what was happening to me. Please assure your child that it’s not their fault if this is taking place and that you are there to advocate and support them.

7. If you suspect your child is a bully, talk to your child, encourage empathy for others, review consequences of bullying behavior, and, if necessary, contact the school for help.

Two days after this presentation, I received this email from a parent:

Good Morning, Mrs. Parker. I was planning to not come to the meeting the other night because I was very tired from working all day. However, I am very glad that I did. The information you shared helped me to realize that my child is a bully. Up until the meeting, I dismissed what he was doing as “kids being kids.” But, when you started sharing those bullying traits and said, “It can lead to the death of another person” I knew I could no longer be in denial.

Initially, I was at a lost for words. I never expected an email like this. In short, I told the parent I was glad to assist and encouraged her to reach out if I could do more.

There is so much more helpful information I gleaned from this presentation. Unfortunately, I can not capture it all here. If you would like a copy, feel free to contact me directly. I will gladly share it with you.

Bullying is very serious. It is neither a normal childhood activity of rite of passage. Please take a moment to share this information with your child. In fact, let them read some of the news articles for themselves, if age appropriate. We can no longer afford to ignore this very serious problem. It’s time to take a stand against bullying.

Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). On July 23, 2011, she is hosting "The BEST Young Writer’s Workshop EVER” for youth between the ages of nine and 18. Additionally, she is hosting “Write On!”, an eight week summer writing program for youth. Visit www.writeonprogram.eventbrite.com for more information. Kimberly is a ghostwriter, author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

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