I am glad that this topic is getting all the media attention. As a teen I was on both sides of bullying- I was a bully (in middle school) and I got bullied (by older kids) in high school. I shudder when I think of some of the things I said to kids when I was in middle school (and this was a parochial school!).
As a therapist I see adolescents who get bullied and who are the bullies. How not to raise a bully? EMPATHY building is the key, and how you do that is to try and help your child see the other’s perspective and how they feel. This takes practice and a lot of talking in the family. Empathy building begins at home- work at accepting differences, being tolerant, and reducing competition.
If your child is bullied- I feel for you and them. Help them to develop a support system and activities away from school (or where the bullying occurs) so that they have success and outside interests away from the bullying. Teach them ways to stand up for themselves (assertiveness skills), and get the school involved when appropriate.
Bullying a red flag for depression
April 21, 2010, MSNBC
Research shows that bullying can be a red flag for depression and suicidal behavior in both bullies and victims.
When Conversations Become Heated
- Slow things down! Breathe! Breathing becomes shallow when we are upset-taking longer, deeper breaths calms the body and mind. Take 10 seconds to breathe.
- If needed, take a Time Out, to compose yourself. An hour is usually more than enough-often 5-10 minutes will work too.
- State your position, but listen to the other person’s side too! Look for some point of agreement in both sides- this is difficult, but with practice becomes easier. This tip is extremely important to stop gridlocks. The more each of you feel heard and understood the less likely gridlocks will occur.
- Look for solutions/compromises. If there aren’t any (which will happen) agree to disagree, but be respectful of the other’s point of view. There isn’t a right or wrong, just different viewpoints.
- Remember you are on the same Team. What’s healthy for the TEAM? If one person always wins, that is very bad for the team. Try and think in terms of win win for both people. You want your team to be strong and continue to grow!