033 - Victims of Bullies

Post date: Nov 30, 2015 9:12:00 PM

Counselor Notes 33

January 30, 2015

Victims of Bullies

The last issue addressed bullies so this time I want to focus on their victims. Bullies tend to target two very different types of individuals: the passive and the provocative. At Waverly Elementary School we strive to help both groups. There are things that parents can do at home to help as well.

In the book Preventing Bullying At School by Dr. Beverly Title and James Bitney, the authors note that both these types of students:

· Exhibit a great deal of affect

· Get chosen last by fellow students for activities

· Appear isolated and friendless

· May have a learning disability

· May have a physical or mental disability

· Depend upon adults in general for emotional support more than do most children their age

· Rarely report incidents of bullying out of fear it will cause the matter to worsen

· Don’t believe adults can help with bullying

In addition, passive students who are targeted by bullies:

· Don’t invite attack

· Cry easily, are sensitive, and lack a sense of humor

· Are considered to be pushovers, or “easy targets”

· Lack social skills and are temperamentally shy

· Show high levels of insecurity, anxiety and distress

· May have experienced a trauma such as rape, abuse, or incest

· May try to use bribes to protect themselves

· Are often small for their age

The characteristics of provocative students who are targeted by bullies:

· Pester and irritate others repeatedly

· Display a quick temper, and will fight back

· Get others charged up

· May be clumsy, immature, restless

· Provoke attacks repeatedly

· May display problems with concentrating

· Often characterized as hyperactive

· Show high levels of distress

Parents who are concerned that their child may be subject to bullying are advised to alert the school. We want all students to have a positive experience at school.

The school always seeks to address bullying behavior. Even if we are 100% successful, this will not insure the child isn’t bullied elsewhere. To guard against this, parents are encouraged to help the child address the ways in which the child meets the characteristics of the victims. “Passive” students can learn to be more self-assertive and confident as well as less anxious. “Provocative” students can be taught how to be less reactive and temperamental. They can also learn ways in which they may inadvertently invite problems.

Of course not all of the characteristics are going to lend themselves well to intervention (ex: a child who is small for their age isn’t likely to become overly tall in a short time), but others can. Your child will thank you for your help. When it comes to helping a child with a bully, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.

Doug Muha Ed.S.

School Counselor

Waverly Elementary School