Ways to Address Issues of Bullying in Kids & Teens

Posted by Kate Spears on

According to StopBullying.gov, bullying is defined as any sort of unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior happens over and over again, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying may involve threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, or excluding someone from a group on purpose.

In our modern world, social media has played a role in bullying like never before. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. This might include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

There are many roles that kids and young people can play in a bullying scenario. Kids can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may witness bullying. When kids are involved in bullying, they often play more than one role. It is important to understand the multiple roles kids play in order to effectively prevent and respond to bullying.

On this week’s edition of the Get Ready To Learn radio show, we welcome local celebrity and radio personality Freaky Dave to chat about some of these important issues and how they affect young people in the Upper Cumberland.

We know that an important way to combat bullying is by being a consistent and caring adult in a child’s life. Parents, school staff, and other caring adults can help kids understand bullying, keep the lines of communication open, encourage kids to do what they love, and model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

Some examples of these individuals might be a teacher, scout leader, or theatre director, as well as a coach, sunday school teacher or really just someone who is willing to connect and build relationships.

James Comer (1995) puts it well: "No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship." Building a respectful relationship doesn't mean becoming the student's buddy. It means that teachers both insist on high-quality work and offer support. When my colleagues and I interviewed high school students in 1998 about what actions show that a teacher has respect for them, students identified the following:

  • The teacher calls me by my name.
  • The teacher answers my questions.
  • The teacher talks to me respectfully.
  • The teacher notices me and says "Hi."
  • The teacher helps me when I need help.

The nonverbal signals a teacher sends are a key part of showing respect. I have found that when students feel they have been "dissed" by a teacher, they almost always point to nonverbals, rather than words, as the sign of disrespect. Nonverbal signals communicate judgment, and students can sense when a teacher's intent is to judge them rather than to offer support. Although it's hard to be conscious of nonverbal signals at times, one way to sense how you're coming across is to deeply question your intent. Your gestures and tone will likely reflect that intent.

by James P. Comer

Our Get Ready To Learn host Cindy Putman and Freaky Dave talked about how powerful our Cookeville community is and how when folks show KINDNESS, it just changes how we all feel.

There are some great resources available for parents about bullying from PBS Parents. It’s important that parents take bullying seriously, and address it.

Even if your child is the one doing the bullying. Empowering a child is a great way to prevent bullying in all forms.

Other ways to help your child feel empowered? Give them an opportunity to feel like they are an important part of their community. You can do this by letting your child lend a hand. In teaching them about how to treat others, parents can raise emotionally intelligent kids who thrive.

Here are some places to get plugged in in the Upper Cumberland:

Mustard Seed Ranch - This great local organization is always looking for donations of gift cards or items from their wish list. To learn more, visit http://www.mustardseedranchtn.org/

Kids Matter at Highlands Residential Services - This is our new after-school reading program for grades K-4 in Cookeville’s Pine Avenue area — these students enjoy story time, reading games, arts, crafts, and are provided with a super snack. Participating children can check out books from our lending library. Donations are always welcome for these activities

Habitat for Humanity ReStore - You can help this great local organization by both shopping and donating items!

Life Church along with Bob Sotis are working on project “Community Christmas Gift Give Away.” To learn more, contact Bob Sotis, Helps & Senior Life Coordinator at bob@cookevillelife.com.

If our community can come together and continue working together to support one another, we can spread kindness and make a difference in so many lives! WCTE is proud  to be part of this important work.

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Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM. 

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

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