“Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Researchers have failed to identify a link between bullies and any religion, race, income level, family structure, or other factor. Bullies may be introverts or extroverts, academic achievers or struggling in school. One of them might even be living under your roof” (Pertler).
No parent wants to discover or admit their child is a bully, but in reality, any child may be a bully. Students’ actions and characteristics are often different at school than they are at home where a parent has a great influence over whether the student follows set rules. When teens are at school, they have free time to engage each other. The halls during passing periods and the cafeteria at school present a fairly relaxed atmosphere where students feel free to “be themselves”. Under these circumstances, a handful of students become more outwardly agressive often leading to behavior classified as bullying.
Teens bully for many reasons; however, according to many experts the main reason students bully is to gain positive attention or popularity, and sadly, in most cases it works. Other teens bully ‘“. . . to feel powerful or in control. Others do it because they are bullied themselves. Some believe it will increase their status with peers. Often, kids who bully have a difficult time empathizing with their victims”’(Pertler).
A parent may find it hard to believe that their teen is a bully. However, if they recieve a call from a school administrator informing them that their teen was bullying another student, they can be assured that the incident was thoroughly investigated before the phone call was made. A parent’s initial reaction might be to argue that their teen would never bully another student. However, the parent should recieve the message with an open mind and prepare to look for other signs of bullying in the teen. It is imperataive to stop the bullying immediately for both sides. “Children who bully are much more likely to get involved with drugs and crime later in life . . .” (Alphonse).
Signs of bullying might include ongoing abusiveness toward siblings. “‘Children who are nasty at school often develop it as a habit, and they’ll bring it home. You’ll hear it with their siblings,” Englander says’. Notice if your teen is dropping old friends and making new friends frequently and then making condescending or derogatory remarks toward the old friends. Observe whether your teen exhibits an inability to empathize with characters on television shows or movies who are being pick-on ( Alphonse). It can be difficult to detect these behaviors; therefore, a parent need be diligent in their efforts.
No parent wants to discover that their child is a bully. There are, however, a number of things that parents can do to assist their teen in becoming a better citizen. Parents need to be “hands on parents”. Communicate with your teen help them to understand that the lines of communication at home are open and you are willing to listen. Also, keep the lines of communication open with the school; the teachers and the administors will be of great assistance. Model and teach positive behaviors in your home. ‘“Reinforce kind, compassionate behavior,” Friedman recommended. “Teach empathy and provide opportunities for cooperation.’”(Pertler) Lessening the violence in the home and introducing the teen to new opportunities and activites that keep him busy is a good idea. Charitable work such as assisting at a home for battered women may help a teen learn empathy while she is providing much needed help.
In any case, parents need to be open to the idea that bullies come in all races, religions, income levels and intellectual levels. No teen is immune from the ugly dark scab that is bullying.
Alphonse, Lylah. “Is your child a bully?.” Globe Newspaper Company. (2010): n.
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Alphonse, Lylah. “When your kid is the bully, Parents are wired to see their kids’
behavior as socially acceptable. Except sometimes, it’s not..” Globe Newspaper Company. (2010): n. page. Web. 27 Dec. 2011. <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Farnsworth, Roger. Personal Interview. 27/DEC/2011.
Pertler, Jill. “Not My Kid: What to Do if Your Child is a Bully.” education.com. n.d. n.
page. Web. 27 Dec. 2011.<http://www.education.com/magazine/article/what-to-do-if-your-child-is-a-….