2 For safe and healthy schools.. UnderstandingDialogueAction
3 Making A Difference In Bullying Based on a presentation by: Debra Pepler and Wendy CraigPrepared by:Heather HalmanCoordinator of Educational ServicesFebruary 2003.
4 Bullying is a relationship problem What is Bullying?Bullying is a relationship problemThe lessons that children learn early on school playgrounds transform and develop into other problems later in life.There is a clear negative impact on the development of both children who are the targets of bullying and those who bully others.
5 Most experts in the field include the following key elements in definitions of bullying: Bullying involves a power imbalance in which the child doing the bullying has more power due to factors such as:AgeSizeSupport of the peer groupHigher statusBullying usually is a repeated activity in which a particular child is singled out more than once and often in a chronic manner.Bullying is carried out with the intent to harm the targeted child.Bullying includes:Physical aggressionVerbal insultsThe spreading of malicious rumors or gossipThreats of exclusion from the peer groupBullying is unfair and one-sided. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening or leaving someone out on purpose.
6 Common Misconceptions About Bullying children grow out of itbullying is a natural part of growing up-“boys will be boys”ignoring bullying makes it disappearIn fact, bullying is a complex, distressing problem which requires interventions on multiple levels.
7 What Does Bullying Look Like? Bullying can be expressed:Directlyface-to-faceIndirectlybehind the backSexuallyespecially in later elementaryand high schoolAlthough it is common for children to experience more than one type, children need different skills to recognize and cope with the different forms of bullying.
8 The most common form of bullying is overt and direct. Direct BullyingThe most common form of bullying is overt and direct.This is the only type of bullying with physically observable signs of damage (e.g., physical injury, torn clothes, etc.)Both the child being bullied and others are aware of the identity of the person doing the bullying.The following behaviors are examples of direct bullying:*open attacks*physical harm or threats*insults, taunts or name calling*telling a child to his/her face that s/he cannot play in a mean way
9 Indirect BullyingMore difficult to recognize and respond to because the person being bullied may not be present when the bullying happens or may not know the identity of the bully.The primary purpose is social exclusion or the damaging of a child’s reputation or status.Examples of indirect bullying include:* spreading malicious rumors or lies* writing hurtful graffiti about a child* encouraging others not to play with a child
10 Is Bullying a males only issue? NO !Observations of children’s behavior show that girls engage in bullying as much as boys.(Atlas & Pepler, 1998)
11 Sexual BullyingSexual bullying occurs when one student is targeted by another with unwanted words, actions or media images about sex.Examples of sexual bullying include:* unwanted jokes, comments or taunts about sexual body parts* teasing about sexual orientation or rumors about sexual activities* passing unwanted notes or pictures about sex*grabbing someone in a sexual way or forcing someone to engage in unwanted sexual behaviors.
12 Some StatisticsBy conservative estimates, 10% of school children are chronic targets of bullying, while the number may be as high as 20%.Almost all children have experienced occasional bullying or seen others being bullied.Each time a child is successful in the attempt to bully- his/her power increases
13 Developmental Perspectives How we respond is key since bullying is repeated over time and generalizes to other developmentally significant relationships.The use of power and aggression in bullying is a key component of sexual harassment, dating aggression, workplace harassment, marital aggression, child abuse and elder abuse.It is a common myth that bullying is something that children just grow out of.Studies reveal that in bullying situations the victim tries a social skills strategy each time-IgnoringWalking awayUsing your wordsChildren require adult help to gain their power and reduce their negative power of the bully.
14 Bullying is a Systemic Problem Bullying does not occur in isolation.Interventions must include:peers, school, parents community and societyPeers (witnesses) play an important role in promoting bullying problems- even when they do nothing.Peers are present in up to 85% of bullying episodes.Peers often pay positive attention to the bully.In 75% of incidents, when peers join in, the level of arousal of the bully increases.Conclusion:For an intervention strategy to be successful it must implicate peers, as well as others.
15 Who is at-risk for bullying and taxing? 75% of students experience no problems15% of students have occasional difficulties10% of students are at-risk
16 Four Questions To Ask How long has the problem gone on? (duration) How frequent are the incidents?(daily, weekly, monthly etc.)How severe is the bullying?(verbal, physical?)How pervasive is the bullying?i.e. how many places does it happen?in class?on the playground?on the school bus?with siblings at home?
17 Risk Factors for Bullying and/or Victimization Characteristics of Bullies:exhibit aggressive tendencieshave experienced rejectionare marginalizedhave poor social skillslack home supporthave poor impulse controllack anger management skillsare lacking empathy skills
18 Risk Factors for Bullying and/or Victimization Victims:have reputation problemshave experienced rejection-are often un-likedare isolated or marginalizedhave low self-esteemOften children are so motivated to be part of a group that they will endure this and more on a regular basis.
19 Peers Are Important Peers presently intervene in 10-20% of incidents. More frequent than teachers- who intervene in approximately 4-10% of incidents.
20 Peers Are Important IN FACT: Peer interventions are successful in stopping bullying within 10 seconds in 57% of episodes!This is a huge response rate.Bullying is about dominance, so when a peer intervenes or questions the bully, the power and dominance of the bully decreases.
21 Are There Harmful Consequences? For Children Who Bully-Aggressive behavior that takes place in childhood persists into adulthood for many children.Olweus (1991) found that 60% of the boys identified as having serious bullying problems between 6th and 9th grades had at least one criminal conviction by age 24.As these students reach the upper grades they are more inclined to associate with others who engage in aggressive behavior-a pattern contributing to the development of adolescent gangs.
22 Are There Harmful Consequences? For Children Who Are Targets of Bullying-Victims of bullying often experience:severe ostracizationpeer rejectionlow self-esteemdepressionloneliness and anxietyinsecurityThis can lead to a painful cycle in which the children who are most in need of peer support are the least likely to receive it.Research has also established a link between being bullied and having both emotional and academic difficulties.
23 Protective Factors For Bullying And Victimization All children must be given an arsenal of strategies and skills.Social Skills-social awarenessproblem solving strategiesassertiveness trainingemotional regulationcommunication and behavior strategiesLanguage Skills-communication abilitiesexpressive abilities to break theWall of Silence
24 Parents, Teachers And Communities As Partners Parents must strive to:provide a supportive, warm and consistent home environmentfoster positive attitudes and beliefsteach resilience in the face of adversityguard against over-protectivenesstake an active and pro-active approach
25 Parents, Teachers And Communities As Partners Teachers and other adults must strive to:model positive problem solving skillsbe consistent and fairmodel respectinvite open discussionshelp children develop empathy for differenceswalk the talk
26 Parents, Teachers And Communities As Partners School communities must strive to:gather information and evaluate the situation- pre and post testingadopt a multi-faceted programintervene earlyestablish clear school-wide and classroom rules about bullyingteach peer intervention skillssupport students who are “at-risk”
27 Parents, Teachers And Communities As Partners model support for all children- even the difficult onestrain parents in skills and strategies and improve their awareness of bullying as an important issuesolicit community partners (CLSC, etc)have consistency of language and strategiestrain all adults in the school to respond sensitively and consistently to bullyingcreate an environment that is inclusive- not exclusiveprovide adequate adult supervision, particularly in less structured areas, such as the playground and lunchroomre-culture not restructure the school(M. Fullan)A few can change a lot
28 What Skills Do Children Need to Cope with Bullying? Assertiveness Training-When children respond aggressively to bullying it tends to last longer. However, when children use problem solving strategies such as assertively standing up for themselves, the bullying tends to end sooner.Friendship Skills-Friendship plays an important role in both preventing bullying and in helping children cope once it has occurred.Children with at least one friend are less likely to be bullied and having a friend decreases the effects of the bullying.Peers must strive to:be part of a school culture where it is“cool to help others”
29 The Power of the Peer Group Debra Pepler and Wendy Craig strongly recommend that bullying prevention programs emphasize changing peer group attitudes, behaviors and norms around bullying in the following ways:promoting the development of empathy for children who are being bulliedimproving children’s recognition of bullying and their role in the problemteaching children strategies they can use to be “part of the solution” instead of “part of the problem”
30 Where Do We Go From Here? We can make a difference through: The trouble with bullying is that it often works.We can make a difference through:Programs in schoolsLeadership and commitment on the part of the adults involved.Promoting cultures of awareness and opennessCommitment to changing attitudes and behaviorsTeaching children to be responsible bystandersSocietal commitment of resources
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