Good Morning! Here's the Monday Morning Blog!
Have you had a chance to talk to that teen or young adult in your life yet? We spent the weekend with our young adults and their friends closing our cabin for another season. It is great to come together as a family and get things done.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
According to Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center, 1 in 5 students are targets of a bully. It is a staggering statistic to think about. This month, we will talk about bullying and its effects on teens who are targets and the ones who bully. Like it says above, together, we can create a world without bullying. This should be our goal.
Last week I talked about what if your teen is one who bullies and provided some ways for you to deal with that. This week we are going to talk about the people who stand up to bullies. Whether it is the target or a bystander, both of these types of people are inspirational because standing up to bullying isn't easy.
Ways to stop bullying
There are a couple of ways to get bullying to stop. One way it to take it into your own hands and the other is to report it to a parent, another adult, teacher or school administrator.
Taking it into your own hands
Whether the target or the bystander takes it into their own hands, this can be either emotionally or physically challenging. In the movie Back to the Future, the character, George McFly is being bullied by Biff Tannen. Biff is the traditional big brute and George is the weak looking nerdy guy. It takes George to punch Biff in the nose to get him to stop picking on him.
Remember, movies are a Hollywood version of real life, so what you see on tv is not always what you should do at home. I am not suggesting that getting physical with someone is the way to stop it, but sometimes it is the only way the bully sees that you are not one to be picked on. This method doesn't work all of the time because it can make the person who bullies mad, or his friends can choose to retaliate on his behalf.
Sometimes a bystander or group of bystanders may tell them to stop. This takes an act of courage too. We should be afraid to tell someone to stop doing what they are doing. But when we do, they should respect the request and just stop.
Reporting the bullying
Another method to get bullying to stop is to report it to someone. It can be hard for teens to talk to adults about this. Teens can feel like they are tattling or that there will be retribution by the one who bullies or his friends if he or she gets into to trouble. There are many places to go to report bullying. The school has teachers, administrators and teen crisis groups available. And there are phone and online options outside of school that can be contacted for help.
With so many sources of help available, why is bullying still such a problem?
As hard as it is to be a target of a bully, it seems to be just as hard to call the bully out on what they are doing. Teens are afraid to do it but doing nothing can be even harder and have long term emotional effects on the bystander. According to an inspirational Anti-Bullying quote on onlinesense.org,
"Bystanders who do nothing give bullies permission inadvertently to go on being bullies. Most are afraid they'll lose friends or be bullied themselves if they help victims or report bullies, and some feel guilty for years afterward."
So, what do we do to conquer our fear to report the bully? We need to pull together and support the people who are reporting it. We also need to strengthen the consequences when a bully is called out for what they are doing.
People who stand up to bullying are inspirational
It is hard to stand up and tell someone to stop picking on someone. But when you do it, you are doing something that is helping the target and the one who bullies. They both need help in the situation. The target is wondering why they are being picked on and the one who bullies is dealing with their issue the only way that feels right to them. It isn't ok to pick one someone, but keep in mind, the one who is bullying is a victim in this too.
If you are able to stand up and tell them to stop or to report it to someone who can, what you are doing is not only a good thing, but it may help someone else make the decision to stand up. If enough people stand up to bullying, we can stop people from getting hurt by it and get the ones who are doing it some help for what is making them bully others.
Do you think you can stand up and stop someone from picking on someone else? Or report the activity? Let me know in the comments below.
Shawn's Way - A teen's approach to dealing with bullying
Looking for a great way to open the conversation with your teen about bullying? Have them read Shawn's Way, where a young high school freshman becomes the target of a bully and has to figure out how to navigate the stresses that some with it.
Check out the books tab on my website for more information about Shawn's Way and the other book in The Way Series, The Hard Way.
Have a great week!