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Dear Dr. Cherrye,

While meeting a few of my girlfriend’s for lunch this week, we talked a lot about our children. I shared that my 8 year old was bullied a lot in first grade, and it was my hope that this upcoming school year would be different for him. One of my friends said, ‘Boys will be boys. Just toughen him up.’ She believe that boys just horse play, and it’s not really bullying at all. I was appalled at her comment.

Dear I was appalled at her comment,

Bullying is indeed a pandemic in our nation’s schools. Realizing this, as a mom I want to encourage you to do everything possible helping your son deal with the pressures these annoying behaviors pose on him during school. As a parent, you have a huge responsibility of learning as much as you can about bullying, what it looks like, and how to support your son. Please ignore your friend this time. Let’s begin by defining what bullying really is.

Bullying Defined

Bullying is the repeated offense of:

Verbal (name calling, teasing, insulting, or threatening)

Physical (hitting, kicking, scratching, pushing, stealing, hiding/destroying someone else’s property)

Social (refusing to talk to or play with someone, purposefully excluding someone)

Cyber (using electronics such as computer to write mean, demeaning messages about someone)

and/or Religious bullying (1. Children who refer to themselves as Christians are bullied by ‘non-believers’ due to their faith in God, or 2. Children who refer to themselves as Christians bully those who they deem as ‘non-believers’)

There are signs of bullying

  • Poor eating habits or asking to eat as soon as he/she gets home – bully has taken their lunch or lunch money
  • Depression
  • Torn clothes or mysterious bruises/scratches
  • Isolating self from others – appearing lonely
  • A change in grades – poor grades
  • A sudden dislike for school
  • Exhibiting unfounded anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Complaint of sick feelings – stomach aches, headaches
  • Asking not to go to school
  • Signs of threats or suicide

Continue to Stop, Look & Listen to your son.

Continue talking to him. Your child must trust that you’ll drop whatever you’re doing to see him through this crisis. Your child needs to know that you’re listening to him; you hear his frustration and the pain he’s experiencing.

When discussing problematic issues with your son, repeat what you’ve heard him say to you, thereby acknowledging that you’re really listening. Be sure to let him know that you’ll be there for him “at all cost.”

  1. Give your son’s undivided attention
  2. Nod your head (indicates you’re listening)
  3. Eye contact – look into his eyes
  4. No distractions (T.V., telephone, computer – these can wait)
  5. Repeat what he’s said to you – ensure that your son knows you’re really listening

No, bullying is not horseplay. Horse play is fun and not repetitive. Horseplay is not demeaning and hurtful. Horseplay is mutual and friendly play. Bullying, on the other hand, is intentional and it does hurt – deeply.

Resources to Help Parents

  1. Tease Monster: A Book About Teasing Vs. Bullying (Building Relationships)
  2. Hey Loser, What’s for Lunch?: Breaking the cycle of bullying by identifying bullying and opening up the lines of communication
  3. I Didn’t Know I Was a Bully!
  4. Tease Monster: A Book About Teasing vs. Bullying
  5. Teacher, Teacher, Can’t You See?

Bully Guide for Parents & Educators

  1. A Bully Blueprint: Solutions For Kid

Important

I’ve made it my mission to assist parents in resolving the bullying issues their children are suffering. Offering your feedback and suggestions in the comment section could facilitate meaningful dialog on this critical issue among ourselves and I encourage this. I will respond to each comment in a timely way. Should you wish to speak privately with me, please email be at CherryeVasquez@gmail.com, and I will reply promptly.

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Use my free resources, Self-Identity Worksheet: Sharing My Goals & Positive Attributes and The Bully Band: Parents in Rhythm as tools to help you help your child with bullying, and to help build your child’s self-esteem.

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2 thoughts on “What is Bullying, exactly?

  1. Candice Freeney says:

    This information is very helpful. Clearly defining what a bully is helps parents to ask their child the right questions if they suspect that something is going on. Sometimes the signs are there but the child remains silent.

    1. Dr. Cherrye says:

      Thank you very much for stopping by, Candice. I’m happy that this particular parent asked the question because sometimes people will indeed make ‘off the wall’ comments shaming parents into believing that bullying doesn’t exist to the extent portrayed in statistics. Bullying is a real problem, and although the term horseplay is a real action, children and parents are wise to realize the distinction between the two.

      You are correct, some children are very shy and may need a little nudging to ‘spill their guts’, so parents should remain vigilant (always observant with their eyes and ears opened), so that they may expeditiously step in and intervene. If this blog post helps at least one parent realize which questions to ask if they suspect something is going on, I’d be thrilled to know that my efforts are worthwhile.

      Again, thanks for stopping by. Your comments will help other parents realize the same.

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