Parenting Community

Bookmark and Share

Font Size:

David: So is that a common theme...going from victim to bully?

Kathy: Yes, in my book, I call this the "Bully Cycle". Bullies creating more bullies.

Bev_1: Why is it that children of one who was bullied, also get bullied?

Kathy: You mean, the parents were victims and so are their children? Perhaps because they never learned how to improve their own self-esteem or hold their own heads high and feel good about themselves, and so it's hard for them to teach those skills to their children.

David: Here's a related question on that exact point, Kathy:

sunnstar: I know this chat is about children being bullied. I was bullied so severely as a child that I developed social phobia as an adult. To this day, I still get picked on, no matter where I go. I notice that I send a vibe out that I am an easy target. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

Kathy: Have you tried getting professional help? Dr. Carter has helped many people with his "Center for Self-Esteem." And yes, you must be putting out that vibe. And since you are suggesting that here, you know you are. So you need to start feeling better about yourself. There is nobody out there that is any better than you, and if you could get into everyone's head, you'd find out that everyone has different levels of fear and are lacking in self-confidence to some degree.

David: We had a conference last week on self-esteem. You can read the transcript. It was a very good conference with lot's of information.

CATSnHARDROCK: Although we love each other immensely, my girlfriend and I have a tendency to bully one another on certain occasions and I just don't understand where this comes from.

Kathy: Again, fear and lacking in self-confidence. There needs to be open communication to identify the problem. And focusing on the problem not the person, and attacking the problem not the person. Listening with an open mind, and treating a person's feelings with respect, and taking responsibility for your own actions. Not walking away from a problem, but trying to openly discuss it and find a resolution.

continue story below

David: Kathy, do kids grow out of being bullies, or do they grow up to be big bullies?

Kathy: That could go either way, depending on how many victims stood up to them, how many teachers or parents disciplined them, and if they finally realized how much they have been hurting people.

David: Back to children victims, is there a difference between being a girl victim and a boy victim? And are there different methods used to handle bullies?

Kathy: It's interesting, according to the US Justice Department, there are more girls who are BULLIES than boys! Girls bullying other girls is the big issue now. I know the school violence with guns and bombs is the most serious issue today, but the most common is girl clicks. Girls tend to talk about each other and hang out in groups where they will ostracize each other. They tend to rely heavily on using put downs and gossip, however, most physical fights are between boys, and many girls have gotten quite good at it as well!

David: Should girls use different methods to cope with bullies than boys?

Kathy: No, they should both learn to stand up to the bullies, girls or boys. That is the first step.

Bev_1: With so much bullying, my son doesn't want to go to school. He is 10. How do I get him to go without him getting so distressed about it?

Kathy: Ask your son if he has any ideas on how he can change his situation. Encourage him to resolve it on his own to help improve his self-esteem and listen with an open mind and offer solutions. If his fear is great because of a particular bully, notify the teacher. There are times when this can be done "anonymously," so that the bully doesn't come back harder. Instead of giving names of the victims, just say to either the teacher or the bully's parents, that this child has been causing a lot of grief to other students and needs to be talked to and stopped.

schmidt85: What if you notify the teacher, the teacher notifies the kid's parents, and the bully just gets worse?

David: What if things are so bad, your kid just won't go back to school. Then what?

Kathy: I know a lot of parents write me and have taken their kids out of school to either homeschool them or move them into another school. It's sad how your life is forced to change because of fear and the violence of another person. If the bullying is that bad, again, the police will get involved, and you need to file a report.

David: As a parent, that's a very difficult situation because you don't want to send your child back to be hurt, whether it's physical or emotional.

Kathy: Yes, and even though the physical is the most life-threatening, the verbal will carry the deeper scars throughout life.

dotwhat: Bullying and aggressive taunting is at epidemic proportions today. Do you think schools should start teaching kids not to bully, name-call, and fight?

Kathy: Yes, many schools have a "No tolerance" policy for those situations.

David: Kathy, I always like to give our audience concrete things they can carry home with them from each conference. So I want to go over a few things here:

First of all, if your child is the victim of a verbal bully, what would you suggest the child do and the parent do if the bullying continues to escalate?

Kathy: If the bullying is verbal, the first thing to do is ignore it. If this doesn't work, try laughing along. If this doesn't work, avoid the bully if you can. If you are becoming an emotional wreck because of it, you need to talk to the parents and teachers. Your grades will drop when you have to focus on fear instead of learning.