The Block Island Times
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Rhymes to Reason: Bullies, part II

By Sherry Carly | Mar 07, 2012

Albert Schweitzer once said: “You must not expect anything from others. It’s you yourself of whom you must ask a lot. Only from oneself has one the right to ask for everything or anything. This way it’s up to yourself — your own choice. What you get from others remains a present, a gift.”

The subject of bullying takes more then a one-time article. The bully usually picks on those that are least likely to fight back. A passive child can become a target, and continued bullying will take away that child’s self-esteem and lead to more bullying. Children with ADHD and other behavior disorders may also be victimized. Bullies may gravitate toward those who show:

- physical weakness

- small stature

- shyness

- low self esteem or lack of confidence

- lack of family communication and support

- unwillingness to respond aggressively to aggressive behavior

- poor self control or other difficulty with social skills

- possession of material items that a bully might want

These perceptions come from a book called “Your Child: Bully or Victim? Understanding and ending school yard tyranny,” by Peter Sheras, PH.D. with Sherill Tippins. It is in the Island Free Library for any interested parents or teachers.

An effective parenting tip is to teach your child how to recognize bullying and how to respond. Sherah and Tippins say to give a “positive verbal answer,” such as saying:

- Why would you say that?

- What makes you think that I am that way?

- Who told you that?

- I am sorry you feel that way.

- If we don’t agree on something we can agree to disagree.

These tips on the power of assertiveness also hold true for adults. There are many adults, male and female, who go through life without listening skills. They believe they are always correct and may be extremely judgmental, perhaps even find that the need to “correct” other people is compulsive.

Both bullies and their victims deserve compassion. Our children are sometimes lost in the tide of huge changes they face in life; and their parents are sometimes too overworked to take notice. When families spend less time together as a unit, problems can go unnoticed.

‘Til the next time.

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