Lifegiver- A Military & First Responder Family Podcast

Bullying: It’s Not Just Kids Anymore

March 1, 2017

Bullying is a worldwide epidemic that impacts both children and adults. In today’s culture, we see cyber-bullying impacting adults like never before. Divisive conversations over social media, trolling, and mean-ness is causing people to think twice about staying connected online. During this episode in the parenting series, I sit down with Dr. Bina Patel an expert in workplace dynamics, conflict mediation with women, and conflict mediation between culture/religious groups. Dr. Patel offers strategies you can use in your workplace, volunteer circles and with your kids on how to confront bullies and build confidence. In today’s culture, ♣ 30% of teens in the US have experienced bullying ♣ School bullying: 1 in 4 kids at school have been bullied; 160K kids in the US miss school due to bullying ♣ Gay bullying: 2 to 3times more likely to commit suicide and 30% of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis in the US. ♣ 9 out of 10 LGBT students have reported being bullied at school within the past year. It’s not just for kids, though. Bullying between adults can make the workplace difficult to walk into each day. While many of us grew up being told to ignore a bully, Dr. Patel offers some ways to confront the bully immediately. Dr. Patel offers us an inspiring way to help our children build their self-esteem, find their words, get to the root of their feelings, and become assertive. Of course we all need a little bit of this too! Here are a few tips and resources that Dr. Patel offered: ♣ Confront the bully: don’t ignore it. Turn the negative into a compliment ♣ Love and respect: be confident and love yourself. If you respect yourself, the negativity and harsh words of the bullying will bounce off of you. – you control your own emotions, if you believe that you do, others will not be able to hurt you. ♣ Tell them to stop: point out they’re hurting you (assertive communication) – use the “put yourself in my shoes” technique. ♣ Silence: specific to online bullying- confront them through assertive communication, but do not continue the dialog. This is more harmful to the victim as others are reading it and it is set in writing. Note: if nothing else works, the silent treatment is the best treatment. As the victim, walk away from the bullying. ♣ Online bullying: block posts, delete the posts, report them to Facebook; reach out to the victim either via separate/private message, or stand up for the victim by responding to a bully’s post (assertive communication). Note to Parents: Know your child – know their behaviors, moods, and what makes them tick/happy. If you are cognizant of their behaviors on a normal basis, you will know that something is wrong if your child does not eat, becomes withdrawn, looks sad, etc. Monitor the social media outlets that your child may be using. It is wise to create an account to monitor them, more so that you are aware if someone is bullying them. Be a friend! When your child is depressed, sad, withdrawn, etc, talk them as though you are friends. It is important so that the child feels comfortable they can tell you what is on their mind. One of the books recommended: Confessions of a Former Bully