School will be in session again soon. That can mean only more harried schedules, messy backpacks, homework, and bullies.
Let's face it. Kids can be cruel. Often, in their immaturity, they have no idea what effect their words have upon their victims, words which can leave emotional scars that can last well into adulthood. Even worse than the emotional abuse is the physical bullying that occurs in many schools around the country, even here in Delaware.
I know some of the kids who've been victimized and their families. No child should be faced with physical harassment and violence in school or out.
The Nemours Foundation has an article, "Bullying and Your Child", with information regarding the various forms bullying takes today, an explanation of why kids may abuse others, how to recognize if your own child is being bullied with some advice on dealing with it, and how to handle your child if he or she is the bully.
Some of the advice for dealing with bullies is helpful. Other parts I found dubious. "Tell an adult," for example, is a good starting place, but in the cases of the kids with whom I am familiar, teachers and administrators said they couldn't help even though these children were being harassed day after day in their buildings. However, when the harassed young men eventually attempted to defend themselves since the schools would not, the schools suddenly leapt into action and punished them for standing up for themselves. One of the boys was expelled for a time; another's parents pulled him and put him in private school where, incidentally, he thrived. Parents should have a back-up plan to help their kids before bullying gets to that point, should they have the misfortune of dealing with school authorities who refuse or are powerless to do what it right. Thankfully, most teachers and administrators do care and take bullying seriously if they are aware of it.
If you have kids in the schools, it may not be a bad idea to think about these issues ahead of time. Once problems arise, the emotional component of seeing your child victimized may make it more difficult to make rational decisions.