Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!
Did you have a chance to touch base with your teen this week? How about checking in with them and see how things are going. Maybe talk to them about how their favorite sports team is doing or what they are doing with their favorite hobby.
October is Bullying Prevention Month
According to Pacer.Org, one out of every five (20%) students report being bullied.
With this kind of statistic, we as parents, mentors, and caring adults need to start talking to teens and young adults about this issue and ways to prevent it.
We as a society need to start digging into what is causing this much bullying and try to fix those issues to prevent it from happening.
This month I plan to provide some tips and about how you can talk to the teen in your life about it and things we can do to understand the issue and work on solutions.
Last week I talked about what if your teen is the target of one who bullies and provided some ways for you to coach your teen. This week we are going to talk about the people who stand up to bullies. Whether it is the target or a bystander, both of these types of people are inspirational because standing up to bullying isn’t easy.
Ways to stop bullying
There are a couple of ways to get bullying to stop. One way it to take it into your own hands and the other is to report it to a parent, another adult, teacher or school administrator.
Taking it into your own hands
Whether the target or the bystander takes it into their own hands, this can be either emotionally or physically challenging. In the movie Back to the Future, the character, George McFly is being bullied by Biff Tannen. Biff is the traditional big brute and George is the weak looking nerdy guy. It takes George to punch Biff in the nose to get him to stop picking on him.
Remember, movies are a Hollywood version of real life, so what you see on tv is not always what you should do at home. I am not suggesting that getting physical with someone is the way to stop it, but sometimes it is the only way the bully sees that you are not one to be picked on. This method doesn’t work all of the time because it can make the person who bullies mad, or his friends can choose to retaliate on his behalf.
Sometimes a bystander or group of bystanders may tell them to stop. This takes an act of courage too. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone to stop doing what they are doing. And when we do, they should respect our request and just stop.
Reporting the bullying
Another method to get bullying to stop is to report it to someone, typically and adult. It can be hard for teens to about this because they may feel that they are tattling or there will be retribution by the one who bullies or his friends if he or she find out. There are many places to go to report bullying. The school has teachers, administrators and teen crisis groups available. And there are phone and online options outside of school that can be contacted for help. One of these is the Boys Town Hotline which is listed on my Resources page.
With so many sources of help available, why is bullying still such a problem?
As hard as it is to be a target of a bully, it seems to be just as hard to call the bully out on what they are doing. Teens are afraid to do it but doing nothing can be even harder and have long term emotional effects on the bystander. According to an inspirational Anti-Bullying quote on onlinesense.org,
“Bystanders who do nothing give bullies permission inadvertently to go on being bullies. Most are afraid they’ll lose friends or be bullied themselves if they help victims or report bullies, and some feel guilty for years afterward.”
So, what do we do to conquer our fear and report the bully? We need to pull together and support the people who are reporting it and strengthen the consequences when a bully is called out for what they are doing.
People who stand up to bullying are inspirational
It is hard to stand up and tell someone to stop picking on someone. But when you do it, you are doing something that is helping the target and the one who bullies. They both need help in the situation. The target is wondering why they are being picked on and the one who bullies is dealing with their issue the only way that feels right to them. It isn’t ok to pick one someone, but keep in mind, the one who is bullying is a victim in this too.
If you are able to stand up and tell them to stop or to report it to someone who can, you are not only doing a good thing, but your action may inspire someone else to make the decision to stand up against bullying. If enough people stand up to it, we can stop people from getting hurt and get the ones who are doing it some help for what is making them bully others.
Talk to your teen about the options of how to stop those who bully. And ask them,
The next time you see someone picking on and bullying someone else, do you think you can stand up and tell them to stop? Or report the activity to an adult or crisis line?
Let me know what they have to say in the comments below.
Shawn’s Way – A teen’s approach to dealing with bullying
Looking for a great way to open the conversation with your teen about bullying? Have them read Shawn’s Way, where Shawn Townson, a young high school freshman, becomes the target of a bully. See how he navigates the stresses and what the outcome is for him by reading Shawn’s Way.
Check out the books tab on my website for more information about Shawn’s Way and the other book in The Way Series, The Hard Way.