Bully Victims At The Pond

"Marty and Rusty had made it to the duck pond.  Rusty who couldn’t find the words until now finally broke his silence, “Thank you Marty,” he uttered softly, and that’s all that was needed to be said.  They spent the day racing leaves in the water and lay in the cool grass while looking up at the clouds and listening to the ducks quack.  Rusty was pretty good at picking the perfect leaf that would catch a breeze just right and drift across the pond in no time.  They sat together on the fence and enjoyed the fresh scent of wheat rustling around them while hundreds of tiny birds floated across its surface.  It was like a huge colourful sail blowing over a lake.    “Rusty is pretty cool,” Marty thought to himself, “and not much different than me.”  Just then Marty realized that it was never the duck pond that made this place so special but rather the person who he was with.  He thought about his dad and smiled."



WHO IS THE BULLY?

In a sense, a bully is sometimes like a lion:

A lion is selective when it stalks its prey.  It does not attack a large elephant or water buffalo, nor does it attempt to take on an entire herd of animals for fear of getting injured.  Instead, the lion stalks easy prey; the small, the weak, the sick (an easy meal that will not fight back and is less likely to cause injury).  Lions will also typically attack an animal isolated from the heard. 

As with a lion, the bully also preys upon the small and the weak (easy prey that is less inclined to fight back).  They will also pick on the isolated kids.

However, a lion’s behavior is driven purely by instinct where as the bully’s motivations are much more complicated and calculated.  It is important to note this analogy when forming coping strategies or counter measures.   A countermeasure is defined as "a system (usually for military application) designed to prevent sensor-based weapons from acquiring and/or destroying a target."  In a sense, we must develop methods to prevent bullies from successfully targeting individuals. In addition, as with war, bullies invariably cause collateral damage.  Collateral damage is defined as "damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome."  Often, witnesses to a bullying event can also be traumatized in much the same fashion as the intended victim/target.

ARE YOU A BULLY?

Recognizing the fact that you may be or may have been a bully is not something that anyone would like to admit.  Kids should ask themselves the following:

     -Call others names (i.e. fag/homo, stupid smelly, ugly,

       fat, loser, etc.)

    - Make fun of others talents, differences or disabilities?

    - Make/spread rumors and lies about others?

    - Exclude or ignore others?

    - Slap, kick, punch, bite, push, trip, etc.?

    - throw things at others?

    - Make sexual jokes or remarks about/toward others?

    - Play practical jokes on others?

    - Laugh at others?

If any of the above is done on a continual basis then they are a bully!  Once that is established, they should identify which type of bully they are (physical, verbal, or emotional).  They then need to be encouraged to take ownership for their actions and apologize to their victim(s).  If they are unable to do so verbally, then it may be prudent to have them write a brief letter so that they may compose themselves and put some thought into their apology.  This indirect approach may be easier for some kids.

The stats – Did you know?

Who/when/where/what

• Children with positive relationships with their parents are less likely to bully.

• Generally speaking social/emotional bullying such as name calling is the most common form.

• Physical bullying is the least common and declines with age.

• Students are more likely to experience bullying from individuals than groups.

• Bullying often occurs when there is little or no supervision around.

• Data from Kids Helpline shows that children 15-18 years old are more likely to experience continual harassment (13%) than younger children (7%)

Impacts

Children who are bullied are more likely to have higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and illness.

• People who bully are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs and alcohol and engage in criminal behavior.

         -Over 100,000 kids drop out of school each year because of bullying

• Positive and supportive school relationships between principals, teachers, students and parents can have a positive impact on reducing bullying.

• Depression can turn into despair and may lead to thoughts of suicide

• In extreme cases bullying has led to school shootings and suicide/bullycide.

 

 “The suicide of a child that occurs after that child has been bullied or harassed is called bullycide”

Being bullied at school leads to “bullycide” in countries all over the world

Field and Marr reveal in their book "Bullycide: Death at Playtime" that every half hour a child will commit bullycide.

It is important to recognize that depression is a common feeling experienced by victims.  Victim’s feelings need to be validated and not minimized.  One must also be cautious as depression can lead to despair at which point there may be a greater propensity for self harm.  Adults need to recognize this condition and engage the victim.  As well, bystanders need to be encouraged to intervene in such instances (both directly and by informing an adult).  There is nothing more tragic than the loss of a child at his/her own hands as in most cases it could have been prevented.
 Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It’s a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.” – Zack W. Van
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