Monday, August 17, 2009

There are no innocent bystanders when being bullied.

Nannies must teach children to help stop a bully.

Last week we started the discussion of bullies. In a bullying situation, there are usually bystanders, but they aren't exactly innocent. Bullying usually happens with other kids around. Having an audience is very important to a bully. She wants people to see what she's doing, and that she has power over the person she's bullying.

It's usually because a bully wants a reputation for being tough or strong, or because she thinks it'll make her more popular.

So what about the people watching the bullying? Why are they letting it happen? Here are some possible reasons:

• The bully is someone other people look up to and want to hang out with.
• They want to "side" with the bully because to do that makes them feel strong. Siding with the bully's victim, on the other hand, would make them feel weak.
• They're entertained by the bullying.
• They don't think speaking up will help.
• They're afraid that if they say something, the bully will turn on them.
• Watching the bullying is a way to bully vicariously. This means that they feel like they're getting their frustrations out by hurting someone even though they're not doing the hurting, just watching the hurting.

Research shows that if one person watching a bullying situation says, "Stop it!" half the time the bullying will stop?

This can be hard to do, but it's important to try. When standing by and do nothing, that's saying that bullying is okay. It makes the by-stander no better than the bully himself.

Remember the Golden Rule: to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Stand up for someone when he needs it, and when you need it, someone will stand up for you.

Reference: Public Broadcasting System, PBS ONLINE® and, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria VA 22314.

Has a child you care for seen a child being bullied and not stepped-in to help the victim? What advice would you give to a child that sees another being bullied?


Anonymous said...

Exactly! I worked with a family for 11 years and the oldest son was 7 yrs old when I started so I worked for the family until he was in his senior year in high school.

There were 4 times in high school where he was smart to leave the scene of a crime actually, and thankfully, in which his buddies got in trouble with the3 police and he did not get in trouble because he left and was not an ASSECORY.

Kids must be taught that when they see something bad they have a responsibility to try to help and stop the wrong. As adults we would be considered assecories to crimes if we stood by and knew a crime was occuring or watched it happen and did not intervene.

His friends hopped a fence to swim in the pool of a stranger's house and my charge left and went home and told his parents. Parents called cops and by time the police arrived furniture from in the house was thrown in the pool and the boys got in big trouble, my charge did not because he alerted his parents who then phoned the police.

Another time his friends broke into a local sports stadium (in broad daylight and many people saw them do it) and again my charge took a bus home and called his parents at work who called the police.

Then again a friend was smashing pumpkins on Halloween eve and then escalated to breaking more than pumpkins and he came home and told his parents.

Another time kids were shooting BB guns at people and he came home and told parents and police stopped it immediately.

I would hope all kids would learn to be so responsible and standing up for children who are being bullied is a great place to start.

Just yell at the bully "STOP!" will help tremendously.

Janice Kelligan
Lexington Kentucky

Anonymous said...

Very difficult topic to discuss with parents. I agree with what you are posting but the parents are insecure and "nerds" themselves and try to joke about it with their son. But, it's not funny to be picked on by another kid. Then they only tell him to ignore the bully. I think it's a combination of being busy and tired and shy themselves. Not knowing what to do they shrug it off.

Meanwhile, we have 2 more weeks of camp and the son cries he doesn't want to go because another boy makes fun of him.

Ana, Madison NJ

Anonymous said...

Nothing more important to teach a child "Remember the Golden Rule: to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Stand up for someone when he needs it, and when you need it, someone will stand up for you."

Thanks for such a great blog! Brilliant.

Nanny Heather, Boston Mass.