What do you know about bullying? Probably more than you think. It’s not just about the kids who steal lunch money or make fun of your clothes in school. If you grew up with siblings you were probably bullied at home & didn’t even realize it. Your brother or sister may have picked on your bedtime, the tooth you lost or any other number of little things in your life. You probably didn’t think of it as being bullied but it was in away. They made fun of you & you were upset. What did you do? Hopefully you made your parents aware. Usually parents will step in to mediate the situation, educate the sibling who is bullying and correct it. The key steps to addressing bullying head-on are E.T.A-Education, Training & Awareness.

We need put E.T.A. into action when we experience bullying first hand, suspect it, or see it happening. It’s important to talk to all parties involved. Kids can be mean but they don’t always understand the ramifications of what they are doing. They might just think these are “teasing” someone or “having fun”.  You need to explain to them the consequences of repeated bullying. Have them put themselves in the other person’s shoes. Being a bully may limit the type & number of friends they have, social invitations they receive and of course they will almost always be the person that is suspected of “starting an altercation” even if they had nothing to do with it.

Find out what the bully is saying to your child so you know what is making them the target.  Is it verbal or physical?  The child being bullied needs to understand it’s ok to be unique. I wouldn’t really call them different or special. Those words can be stigmas that they associate with in the wrong way. A counselor at school might be the best person to help you understand what’s going on. They will have firsthand knowledge of the children involved.

There are times that even a parent can be a bully to other parents, grownups or another child that may rival to their own. When you are older being a bully can take on several other forms. It can be mental, verbal or even sexual abuse.  These situations can escalate to workplace violence, and domestic abuse. If an adult is experiencing a situation at work they should address it with a supervisor or human resources. You may not always be comfortable discussing it with a spouse or family member but you need to talk with someone.  Don’t assume what’s happening is your fault. Remember awareness is one of the key steps to overcoming bullying. If something is happening outside of work you may need to involve the police or legal professionals for help. You don’t need to be a victim! E.T.A-Education, Training & Awareness.

Remember, Safety Can Be Simple!

Tracy Vega, Owner- Simple Self Defense for Women


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