One in ten children gets bullied every day.Hundreds of children don’t go to school because of their fear of being bullied.What does this say about us and our school culture?Children start complaining about bullying as early as elementary school, and if bullying is allowed to go unchecked, it can have lasting and detrimental effects on […]
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- Dr. Gail Gross, Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert
One in ten children gets bullied every day.
Hundreds of children don’t go to school because of their fear of being bullied.
What does this say about us and our school culture?
Children start complaining about bullying as early as elementary school, and if bullying is allowed to go unchecked, it can have lasting and detrimental effects on our children.
Is your child being bullied?
Here are some of the signs to look for:
1. A change in school grades;
2. A change of social behavior – for example, not wanting to go to school;
3. Complaints of illness, withdrawal;
4. Aggression, a change in eating habits, sleeping habits;
5. Regressive behavior such as bed-wetting;
6. Loss of personal possessions, such as books, pens, notebooks, articles of clothing, jewelry, and even lunch;
7. Anxious behavior;
8. Any changes from the normal day-to-day.
Know your child
Pay attention, and know your child so that you can recognize the signs of stress.
Talk to your child, and ask him to tell you what is going on. Then listen, giving your child your total attention without any criticism.
Please don’t blame your child or discount his feelings.
Remember, bullying takes on many forms – not just a physical form. Emotional bullying is equally as painful and just as damaging.
Don’t use phrases such as “You can take it” or “Don’t be a baby” or “Words can’t hurt you” – they can, and they do. They hurt the spirit and can cause a feeling of free-floating anxiety, which can make a child experience low self-esteem – that there must be something wrong with him. This feeling of low self-worth can follow your child for the rest of his life.
Strategies for parents of children who are being bullied
Parents must partner with the school as well as with other parents to teach their children the rules of social engagement. If parents respect themselves, they will respect their children, and their children will respect themselves and the community at large.
- Teach your child how to get along socially in the world. That means that your child should be taught at home and at school to have self-value.
- If a child is the recipient of bullying, he should immediately report inappropriate behavior to the proper authorities. That means to you, his parents, as well as to his teacher and, if the inappropriate behavior continues, to the principal.
- As parents, you must advocate for your child. Your child must be able to count on you to advocate for him, no matter what. You must follow the same chain of command by reporting the inappropriate incident first to the teacher, then to the principal. It is important to note that you must make it clear that bullying is unacceptable behavior and that it must stop immediately. Now, this is positive, assertive behavior and should be modeled by you, the parent, to your child.
- Talk to the bully’s parents as this is necessary to constructively and positively help not only your child but the offending child. By calling attention to the bully’s misbehavior, the parents have a chance and an option to intervene and help their child remediate. These problems tend to escalate, and bullies who violate other people’s rights can end up with problems and can ultimately end up violating the law.
- Partner with your child’s school to add a program based on the empathic process to their curriculum. This is an approach that teaches through communication and listening skills, role-playing, and modeling both what it feels like to be bullied and how to develop more successful approaches to get what you want in social interactions. Fellow students, the teacher, and the school, as well as parents, become a support system for the child so that he can deal with the baggage he comes to school with, find a win-win approach for problem-solving, and learn through parents and teachers how to walk successfully through the world. In a sense, the parent and the teachers create a problem-solving model that gives children daily strategies that help them in their social encounters.
- Also built into the curriculum should be a strategy for consequences and rewards. This allows for the teaching of responsible, appropriate behavior and the consequences when or if such behavior is violated. In the most severe cases, consequences might even include isolation for the bully or removal from the school. The idea of school as a safe environment in which children can learn academically and how to become good citizens can happen if the school addresses these issues with children in a positive win-win approach.
Dr. Gail Gross, Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert
Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems.
Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC’s The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU’s Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women’s Magazine named her One of Houston’s Most Influential Women of 2016.
Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her.
Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning.
Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention’s 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award.
Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com.
Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To.
Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.