Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Study Finds Bullying Starts Early

I know this is not a new subject and one that has been around since the beginning of parenting.Yet, it is an important topic and concern for many parents today, including myself.

According to an article on a recent study on bullying finds that 75% of children ages 8-11years old have been bullied.

Meline Kevorkian, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., researcher and public speaker on bullying, surveyed 167 educators last year and 25 percent indicated bullying occurs most in elementary schools. Research also indicates that three-quarters of 8- to 11-year-olds report they've been bullied, with more than half identifying it as a "big" problem, Kevorkian said.

In addition, psychologist Jennifer Hartstein, who works
with troubled adolescents in New York City, signs are evident even
earlier. She cites a recent party she attended for a 6-year-old that
featured a pinata.

"It was, like, who can you step on and push fast enough to get the candy,"
she said. "It's this 'me generation' of I have to get what's mine. It's
the precursor to more serious bullying. You really have to catch it as
it happens at younger ages."

Although I have sons, I am still concerned with bullying because boys can be bullied too. I also worry, 'what if my sons become bullies?' While we strive to raise them with values and morals, teaching them right from wrong, taking them to church, teaching them their prayers and to respect others it is still hard to think my sons could become the bullies rather than the bullied.

I guess I worry about this most with our oldest son right now, who is four, and will be starting pre-school in the fall.  He is still in the early social learning phase and can sometimes be intentionally mean to his brother and others or defiant with us. I believe he is a kind-hearted child, yet since having our second son a little over a year ago, our oldest has become more aggressive and disruptive.

At the same time, I know girls can be bullies just as much as boys. While I haven't experienced bullying personally growing up, I grew up with a good friend who was bullied just about everyday after school. Their was a rather large and mean girl who used to take it upon herself to push and shove my friend down on the playground everyday after school when we were only about 10 or 11 years old. Nobody felt they could defend her because the bully girl was so big and intimidating with her clan of followers. The bullying only stopped once the bully girl moved away.

As a former elementary teacher working mostly around children the ages of 5-10. I didn't see any direct bullying behavior during my experiences as a teacher, however know that it happened. Some of the "bullying" behavior at this age is often not recognized as bullying, but poor socialization skills or the result of being selfish. Children are well known for thinking of themselves more than anyone else.

Teaching our children to be considerate of others feelings and being compassionate are also important to emphasize. This can be done through role-playing, reading stories that address this topic and teaching the importance of the "golden rule", due unto others as you would have them do unto you, along with helping our children develop positive self-esteem. Many times children who do not feel good about themselves will take it out on others who they might feel inferior towards.

To learn more ways to build positive self-esteem in children, listen to the MamasTimeOut© support show, from Sunday, June 6, 2008 to hear about ways to build children's self-esteem.

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This post was also featured on --fitness hangout for moms. ☺

Excellent info, Patty. Thanks for sharing! :)

Thanks for the statistics. I'm also a former teacher. I knew when children were bullied, and usually who was doing the bullying. The hard part was to catch the bully in the act so that they'd receive an adequate consequence. Otherwise, I just tried to keep those children apart. I think there are some programs that will teach ways for children to deal with bullies. Wish there was an easy answer.

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