Bully: Beyond the buzzword

Starting a new school year has become synonymous with redefining the term, “bullying”. T. Michell Murphy’s article (see excerpt below) takes on the topic. One of the central ideas in the article comes from Dr. Rona Novick, child psychologist and anti-bullying specialist who discusses the impact of bullying rather than defining the term as we typically read about in many articles. I was pleased to see the tips for parents section, which includes answers to common questions, “How can you recognize if your child is being bullied?” and “How do you avoid making a bullying situation worse?”. Parents have a tendency to storm the school’s front office after the first indication of a bullying incident. Novick encourages a more conversational approach where parents talk to their children about the incident and attempt to teach new skills. Using an online reporting system like Sprigeo has helped kids and teens across the United States report bullying to school principals. During the early elementary years, kids and parents can fill out the reporting form together to ensure that incident details are correct.

Article excerpt:

Bullying is one of the hottest buzzwords thrown around any social stratosphere today, from PSAs to catfights on reality TV. It’s become such an overused, abstract concept that it can be hard to tell when bullying is truly taking place. We spoke with Dr. Rona Novick, child psychologist and anti-bullying specialist, to clarify the terminology and explain what to do if bullying is impacting your child’s schoolwork and self-confidence.

How do you define bullying?
“The deliberate abuse of power to harm another person.” The three types of bullying — physical, social and emotional — are defined by the kind of harm that the acts cause. The one that’s least recognized by parents but is particularly painful for children of all ages is social bullying. That’s deliberate social exclusion: “You can’t belong” or “You can’t join us.”

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