Family - Parenting
By: - at June 18, 2013

Silent Bully: What Every Parent and Child Should Know

Bullying in SchoolWe are all familiar with the term "bully." It is a term used for instances when someone pushes another around in various ways. For example, a child may take another child's lunch money or other things by threatening them. Or it could be someone calling another names and degrading them. Bullying often leads to fighting. A bully may continue until the victim has had enough and an all out brawl ensues.

Bullying Can Have Serious Effects On a Child
Generally, a person becomes a bully early on in childhood for various reasons. Possibly they have seen it at home from a parent or older sibling. Often times a child becomes a bully because they, themselves, have been victims of name-calling or been made fun of because of their size or the way they look. A bully tends to choose a victim who may be quiet and withdrawn because this makes them feel superior in every sense. It typically makes them feel that by making another feel small and worthless they are taking away from their own shortcomings that they imagine they have.

Victims of a bully tend to become withdrawn. They feel a sense of worthlessness. As time progresses, and without intervention, some lose their social interactions. They may resort to drugs or alcohol to ease the pain. Too often, if left unnoticed, a victim of a bully may become so withdrawn that they drastically take their own lives as a means of escape.

We, as humans, tend to take what others say into our thoughts. Over time, if repeated, we begin to believe that this is the case. This is especially true with children. They are impressionable, young lives that can either flourish with their peers or crack under the pressure.

Role Models Are Reaching Out and Making a Difference
Over time, bullying has become a much noticed factor in society. More emphasis has been put on this today than in the past. Teachers, parents and other role models have realized just how drastic a situation this has become, and are stepping up and speaking more openly with children. Children have begun to speak out. The magnificent discovery of the internet has given those with a voice a chance to reach the nation and even the world.

As a result, the number of bullies in schools has decreased. Some children are not afraid to go to school, as they once were. There has been a decrease in the number of young suicides, which, until a few years ago, were rapidly on the rise.

Are We Possibly Missing Something?
Silent bullyingThere is one form of bullying that tends to be overlooked. Because it does not appear to have the same characteristics as our definition of a bully, we do not typically consider it but it exists. And we, as leaders and role models of our youth, need to come to that realization. It is:  silent bullying.

All children in the world have differences. Their characteristics and traits make up who they are. Some children have a disability or a different feature about them that makes them just a little more unique.

As time has progressed, and we have learned more of these special needs through education and media, we have begun to see a softer side to our generation. These children are in public schools, in regular academic classes and even have sporting activities designed around their needs. This tends to fair well when those children are younger. Children of that age are typically taught to share and include everyone. But what happens when those children are older?

As Children Grow, Their Thoughts and Ideas Change
As they enter into middle school, things begin to change. They start to notice boys and girls in a different light. Eventually they exchange phone numbers with friends and begin to attend birthday parties, slumber parties and even dances. They "hang out" to talk in the school hallways in between classes. And where are the special needs children or the children who are slightly different when such time comes?

As the friendships reach a new level, these children are left sitting alone at the lunch table. If someone is sitting next to them, they are usually enjoying conversations with those around the child but not with the child. That child begins to feel unwanted.

In the gymnasium, the older children sit on the upper levels of the bleachers. Most special needs children cannot, for one reason or another, join them. This leaves them sitting on the bottom row without their peers.

When the children are home exchanging phone conversations with their friends, most special needs children are home talking with mom or dad or anyone who will listen. They generally do not have several friends to call. They do not receive invitations to parties and sleepovers.

We Simply Do Not Realize
Children today, in no way mean any harm to a child with special needs. Our youth have been raised by an educated generation, and we have taught them well. But all of us can and do learn every day. And each of us miss things along the way.

Possibly we are missing a type of bullying that we had no idea even existed. It's not intentional, nor do we mean any harm. Yet we leave these children out because we feel they may get hurt or they cannot keep up. In the end, that is exactly what's happening. For whatever reason, they are spending time alone that should be filled with friendships and laughter. We all have a need for that, don't we? This form of bullying is a systemic form that grows out of the inherent differences children may have.

Become More Aware of Those Around You
Bullied ChildThis not only exists in special needs children or adults. Silent Bullying exists everyday in every walk of life. Take a look around when you are at the store, park or work. Notice how many people you see that are alone. How many people spend their lunch break sitting to themselves? How many people do you notice sitting alone on the church pew? It may surprise you to know this number will be more than you think. This form of bullying is a systemic form that grows out of the inherent differences children may have.

If you have children, ask them to do the same the next time they are at school or the park. Ask them to look around and take notice of a child who may be alone at the lunch table or alone in the gym. Possibly they are sitting alone in a corner of the playground while the other children laugh and play and never even notice. Remind them that we are all people and we all have differences. That is what makes each and every one of us unique.

How Would You Feel If It Were You?
Silent bullying is not considered in our world because it is not typical of a bully. We feel that we are not harming them. But in the end, the results are the same. If a child or adult feels alone, unwanted or unloved long enough, the end result may be drastic.

If we can open our eyes to the silence we avoid every single day, we can put an end to silent bullying. The feelings of self worth will improve. And our world will be a much better place for it.





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