Parents get tips on how to recognize bullying
Not all bad behavior is defined as bullying. Some things that are just normal child interaction.
That's according to Annette Conti, supervisor of special education with the Uniontown Area School District.
Conti hosted a bullying seminar for the community last week at the Fayette County Behavioral Health offices in Uniontown.
The goal for the evening was for parents to recognize a bully and learn what to do if a child is bullied or is the bully.
Conti said fighting over an item or calling someone a name is not always considered bullying.
Bullying is intentionally aggressive behavior from verbal or physical to social or cyber bullying.
To be considered as bullying, there must be an imbalance of power, the action must be repeated over time, and it must be unprovoked and intentional.
Conti said horseplay, good-natured teasing, a sudden brief clash between classmates and typical girlfriend disagreements are not considered bullying.
According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Center, almost 30 percent of youths in the United States are estimated to be involved in bullying either as a bully or victim.
Conti believes this statistic is low because there are a number of children out there who do not report when they're bullied.
Social bullying is when a child is humiliated or demeaned in front of peers, and the extortionist is an opportunistic bully who uses force or the threat of force to obtain something.
The Internet has opened the door to cyber bullying.
Bullying generally begins in the elementary grades and peaks in the sixth through eighth grades but often persists into high school, Conti said.
“Bullying is a hidden problem,” she said. “Seventy-one percent of teachers report they intervene often or almost always when a student is being bullied, but only 23 percent of the children agree because bullies are often careful to harass their classmates outside of the presence of adults.”
There are several ways to determine if a child is a victim of bullying, she said. The victim might have a sudden loss of or increase in appetite, difficulty in falling asleep, unexplained bed wetting, fear of using the bathroom at school, going directly to their room to change their clothes after school or asking for, stealing or begging for extra lunch money.
The victim might also exhibit different psychological clues, such as moodiness, explosive behavior, depression, distress or anxiety.
If parents suspect their child is being bullied, Conti said, they should encourage the child for reporting the situation, be good listeners, let the child know it's not their fault, ask what would help them feel safe, and report the situation to the school.
She said parents should not ignore a child's concern; they should not confront the parent of the bully, and they should not accuse the teacher of not doing their job.
If parents determine their child is a bully, Conti said, they should intervene immediately, determine the motivation, and examine the child's psychological health and their peer groups.
“You need to accept there is a problem that needs addressed, assess the underlying causes, make it clear that you expect the bullying to stop, and implement consequences for bullying behavior,” she said.
One also should be realistic in expectations and keep the lines of communication open.
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Feds to protect 20 coral species
- Social media firms walk fine line with jihadists
- Steelers have plenty of new faces at wide receiver
- Not to be left behind, speedy Steelers are on the fast track in NFL
- Rossi: Steelers will make small strides this season
- Starkey: Bucs still battlin’
- Reputed leader of motorcycle gang returned to Pa. to face charges
- Arizona Uzi shooting that accidentally killed instructor ‘just stupid’
- Clairton’s outgoing business manager to mentor successor
- Man shoots at Pittsburgh police, arrested in East Liberty
- Annual Rib Festival at Heinz Field promises plentiful good food, music