Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Child is Being Bullied and No One Cares

Every state and in some cases, like Massachusetts, every school and district, has a policy about bulling, so before you do anything, Google Bully Policy and your state, to find out what the rules are, and who you need to contact. You should consider contacting your school too, if you state does not mandate distributing their Bully Policy. For the sake of this discussion, I am using Massachusetts' rules as published by the state at Mass.Gov.

You Need to Know What Bullying is to Stop It

According to StopBulling.Gov, "Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance."  Click to Tweet Quote

I would rush to add that it does NOT need to involve Children to be bullying, and I am sure that you have seen spouses bully each other, both physically and mentally, as well as adult bullying in the work place, so this discussion can generally be extended to cover adults as well as children, even though I will be talking about children.  The following video is a very clear and very disturbing ad that targets adult bullying to explain how children feel. Don't watch it if you are sensitive to horrible behavior, because this is horrible.


In order for you to gain traction with you child's school or other advocacy advisor, the bullying behavior needs to be repeated and can include physical coercion, the use of personal or potentially embarrassing information, or the use of a position of power such as teams, clubs, popularity of even clicks to exert control over your child.

If you have seen or heard any of that with you child, you have reason to be concerned and you need to talk to someone at the school or the location where the bullying is happening. 

Each of us have been taught to confront problems straight on; however, due to the nature of bullying and the nature of parenting, most resources strongly warn you to NOT APPROACH THE OTHER PARENTS about this type of problem.  I know that sounds odd, and perhaps contradictory to everything in your life, but we deal with violence in humans everyday.  It doesn't take much to cause a parent to overheat and telling them that there is a problem with their child is perhaps the very best way to start a physical confrontation.  That is a very bad road to go down.  Contact the school or location managers for where your child is being bullied, and ask for help.  They all have policies on how to deal with it, and you will have activated those policies just by contacting them.  I would suggest that you either start the contact with a written notice, or accompany the conversation with a written notice however. It's your child we are talking about, and no matter how polite you wish to be, our children are our first priority, and putting it in writing leaves no doubt that you are serious.

"It does not matter if it is intended. If it causes your child emotional or physical harm, it's bullying." @ActionKarate - Sabum Paul McCoy. Click to Tweet

Now That You Know it's Bullying, What Should You Do?

This is a very complex question, and no two sources will give you the same answer, unless they are quoting from the same guidelines.  There are a few things you can start with, however, that nearly everybody agrees with.

1) IT IS NOT YOUR CHILD'S FAULT. When I was in high school, I tried out for the wrestling team, as a freshman, and I made the team, much to my 113 lb self doubter surprise.  I started the year as a member of the Junior varsity team, but I kept challenging the senior who had the varsity position for my weight class, and eventually I beat him.  The problem was, I attended a private school which had 100's of years of tradition, and one of those traditions was hazing of freshmen.  This particular senior used his position on the team, his rank at the school, my membership as a freshmen and the stiffness of the rules of conduct to beat the crap out of me.  When I was approached by the councillor that very afternoon, the first thing he said was, "Who did this to you?"  Part of the tradition was not telling, so that is what I did.  I refused to tell him.  Then he said, "It's not your fault." Really?  I'm a male on the wrestling team in a school of uber achievers academically and athletically, and I was looking for my place of leadership, and I let this person get the drop on me.  How, I thought, is this not my fault and not my problem.  He then said something I have never forgotten, and it is rule number 2.  He said ....

2) DON'T BE WHERE HE IS.  It's not your fault he is broken, and if you hang out with him, confront him or even cross paths with him, you will be asked to prove yourself.  That is not the goal.  Just leave.  Let him live with himself, by himself, until he can deal with others without violence. 

'Don't be there' is the first rule of self defense. - Sabum Paul McCoy @ActionKarate Click Here to Tweet Quote. And finally he said, ....

3)  No one is born a bully.  He has learned to be a bully from someone, and has spent part or all of his life as a victim.  Once he calms down, you have an opportunity to change his life. MAKE HIM YOUR FRIEND.  I was really thinking about how to stay away without fighting everyday, so I kinda blew off #3.  By the end of the year, however, we were friends.

This is #1 is a series dealing with bullies and bullying.  If you would like to receive email telling you when the next ones are published, Click HERE to subscribe.  If you have an urgent need or desire to have me cover a particular aspect of Bullying sooner rather than later, leave a comment below.

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