When it’s not bullying
Bullying is a hot topic right now. We may be more aware of it now than any other generation in history and our podcast episode got a lot or response. Dr. James Brown from the Indiana University of Social Work opened the episode explaining the difference between bullying and conflict. Bullying happens when there is an imbalance of power (social or physical) or when the act is repeated (more than once), otherwise it’s likely just conflict.
Obviously we would like our kids to be safe at school and it’s possible we could jump to bullying when it may be conflict. Kevin Quinn, President of the National Association of Resource Officers told CNN, “Nothing was bullying 25 years ago. It was kids being kids. Not saying it was right, but parents thought it was part of growing up. Now we see a lot of parents trying to generalize what bullying is — anytime we see kids doing something to each other, let’s call it bullying and take it from there.”
I talked with a school administrator this week who agrees. He told me schools are taking bullying more seriously than ever and that school districts have very specific policies around bullying. He says parents sometimes confuse bullying with conflict and it’s important to understand the difference. In the podcast, Dr. Brown said parents should read the school handbook to know what may be bullying and what likely isn’t.
There are a lot of online resources we can use when we feel our kid is being bullied. One to check out is www.stopbullying.gov. It has a review of state laws, training tools and resources for parents and schools.
Bottom line… bullying is happening in our schools. If you get a call that your child is bullying someone, take is seriously. If you feel your child is being bullied, report it. Let’s work with our schools to create a culture of kindness and remember that it begins at home.
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