Sandra Bullock told the Huffington Post on bullying that when she would return to school from Europe, she looked like a clown compared to the cool way the other students looked and dressed.
“So I got my ass whooped a little bit … Kids are mean, and the sad thing is that I can still remember the first and last names of every one of those kids who were mean to me!”
With a third grader in our family now, listening to the playground stories and peer divides can be tough. But how do you know if it’s just girls being girls or an actual bullying situation that you need to help resolve?
According to bullying expert Sherri Gordon, conflict is an important part of growing up but bullying is not. Conflict teaches kids how to give and take, how to come to an agreement and how to solve problems. But bullying only wounds kids.
Gordon writes that the best way to identify bullying is to realize that it is a deliberate act with the intention to hurt, insult or threaten another person.
Let’s face it, kids can be mean — even in elementary school. But the bully is not just the shover in the bathroom or the kid who threatens a beating after school. Yes, boys are more inclined to bully through intimidation and physical means, but girls tend to fire with rumors, whispers, exclusion and the silent treatment. Things that may seem to come with the territory of grade school, but can make attending school torture for your kid, or worse, lead to health and emotional issues down the road. Like Bullock said, kids don’t forget.
So what is there to do?
• Talk to your child at the end of each day, and find out what’s happening in her social circle.
• If your child does hint at bullying, try to find out specifics, and talk to her teacher and the principal. Ask them to have other staff be on the lookout for any incidents.
• Encourage your child to tell an adult when she has an issue, and assure her that reporting an incident is not the same as tattling.
• Suggest she find a trusted buddy she can stick with at recess, lunch or on the bus so she’s less likely to be targeted than when she’s alone.
• If you notice sudden or increasing stomachaches, headaches, missed days of school, lower grades, eating issues or signs of depression, you may want to schedule a visit with the school counselor.