Kids go to school to learn and to socialize with friends and peers. Unfortunately, some kids refuse to go to school because they fear they will be bullied. Bullying recently has been blamed for some young people taking their own lives and because of these tragedies; the word “bullying” has taken a whole new meaning.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Group, a leader in bullying prevention, defines bullying as: “When someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending him or herself.” Keeping this definition in mind, some incidents of one child being mean to another child does not always constitute an act of bullying. Bullying occurs when the behavior is an aggressive, continuous pattern repeated over time and there is an imbalance of power or strength. If these elements are not met, then the incident would be considered a conflict and not a bullying incident.
Children involved in a conflict may display the same types of behavior as a child who is being bullied. They may not want to attend school or may go out of their way to avoid the person with whom they are having a conflict just simply to avoid any further problems. Because these behaviors can be similar, parents sometimes worry their child is being bullied.
Children who are being bullied or are involved in a conflict should seek adult intervention. Children should be encouraged to report any incident to a trusted adult so the adult can determine if the incident is bullying or a conflict and can take the appropriate action to help resolve the issue. Many children will not report they are being bullied or involved in a conflict for fear of retribution. Both bullying and conflicts can cause tremendous stress on a child and trying to deal with the incident alone can cause even more stress. Encourage your children to talk to an adult if they feel they are being bullied or they are involved in a conflict and help keep our kids safe.
Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to you by the Delaware Police Department and School Resource Officer Rod Glazer.