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News Release

You Can't Stop School Bullies Until You Stop Adults Who Teach Them How

August 8, 2008 -- For Immediate Release

Children who are bullied need to know they are not the problem. Bullying is about the bully needing to feel powerful. They believe their wants are more important than anyone else's. They have learned to be abusers.

Bullying always involves

  • Intimidation through specific tactics meant to instill fear
  • Threats of emotional, physical and psychological harm
  • Discrimination by accusing the victim of being inferior or wrong
  • Isolation of the victim from others who may give support.

We must help the victims. This can be done by;

  • Listening to their stories of life at school
  • Watching for changes in behaviour, especially from happy to fearful
  • Observing their play and listening to how they interact with others
  • Asking about any indications that hint at being afraid or avoiding people or places.

You are looking for fear of the school yard, anxiety about who will be in their class, talk of having no friends, worry about their teacher's treatment of them and in general a focus on feeling safe rather than excited to be able to learn and grow.

We can identify bullies by;

  • Watching the way they talk to and about other children
  • Observing the way their parents speak to them
  • Look at who their friends are and the interaction between them
  • Paying attention to the types of games they play and TV programs they prefer.

Signs include belittling and name calling, talk of "getting" other people, a superior attitude with lack of care and empathy for others and forming groups where the group acts aggressively against siblings, younger children or members of a race, religion or sexual orientation. Bullies often present as confident and popular so people believe they are not the cause of the problem.

Parents must hold school officials accountable to stop abusive behaviour on the school yard and in the classroom. The first place to look is at the principals and teachers who bully students.

Every school year parents work to keep their children out of certain teacher's classes because those teachers are bullies. It is often the parents who are least involved in their children's lives whose children get the abusive teachers.

Too often children are seen as the problem, their aches and pains and reluctance to go to school are looked at but not the classroom environment.

  • Parents can work together.
  • Get supportive people to work as a group to hold bullies accountable.
  • Avoid TV programs that show bullies in action.
  • Be Self aware of tactics you may use to get your way
  • Watch the way others speak to your child and confront abuse.

People who bully are usually going about their lives confident that the victim's physical and emotional reactions were because they are too sensitive, not mentally well and author of their own misfortune.

Bullies have usually been bullied. They are afraid of appearing weak or fearful. They need to tell their story of who has bullied them and how that behaviour has influenced their life to break the chain. It may be a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, neighbour, role model on television, religious leader or teacher. Legal tactics include bullying as do many other forms of business interaction. Many workplaces are filled with bullies. War is bullying to the extreme.

There are lifelong repercussions of bullying that effect the way a person functions in their home and in society. Bullying causes a loss in self confidence, hinders achievement, disrupts routines, brings fear into the lives of parents and children, prevents parents from protecting their children out of their own fear and leads to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Accountability involves forgiveness. Bullies need to,

  • Hear the impact of their behaviour on their victim
  • Be willing to accept responsibility for the harm they have done
  • Compensate the victim
  • Apologize

Society must evolve to a point where bullies are held accountable and their behaviour is seen as unacceptable if we are to ever live in peace as people, nations and globally.

Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed. is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist who consults to families in business on relationship issues including bullying. She is author of books on personal growth through travel. Questing Home: A Safe Place for My Holy Grail is her third book and is about Marilyn's experience of being bullied by her former husband, his lawyer and others as she went through the process of divorce.

Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed.
Registered Marriage and Family Therapist
905 639 0050

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