Friday, April 13, 2007

Bullying the Bully

Your 8-year-old son comes home from school and is withdrawn and quiet. You press him for details but he seems distraught. Eventually you are able to pull the problem out of him. He has been bullied at school. Your first reaction is to march down to the school, pull the bully’s parents in for a meeting and fix this mess before anything like this happens again. Unfortunately, this is not the best route.

Experts are saying that it is becoming more common for children to open up to their parents about what is going on in their lives…Great! Then parents are taking matters in their own hands and aggressively trying to fix the problems and fix the bullies…Not so great.

“Adults who address bullying by bullying the bullies will not solve theproblem,” warns Dr. Doug Winborn, associate professor of health and human performance at MTSU . “While the bullying behavior is unwanted, the bully must be helped along, too. And there are ways to accomplish this (through educational) programs.”

It is a sad situation, but experiencing the swings and glares of bullies in school has become a normal part of growing up. However, Dr. Ellen Slicker, MTSU psychology professor believes that this behavior is destructive to both the bully and the victim.

How do you handle this situation with respect to both sides? How do you deal with your child if they are being bullied or if they are the bully?

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