web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Bully Epidemic

Schonfeld-logo1

A bunch of third grade girls stood in a circle at recess.

“Oooh, you have a Cinderella lunchbox! That’s so babyish,” Leah snorted.

Now it was Orly’s turn, “Yeah, well, I bet Suri still sucks her thumb at night!” Orly said, mimicking the thumb sucking motion.

“Ha. I’m surprised she didn’t bring her teddy bear to school,” Leah responded, looking around the circle of girls to see who else would join in. This was a favorite recess activity.

Suri was turning redder and redder, staring at the group of girls, hoping that someone would see her pain and put a stop to the taunting.

A few of the girls were shifting uncomfortably, but no one said a thing, until Orly said, “Eww. Get away from her. Who knows if she is toilet trained?”

With that, the rest of the girls ran away.

 

***

In a school only a few streets away, Yehuda was suffering his own humiliation.

“Yes, Yehuda, eat those potato chips!” Baruch said, as he shoved a fistful onto Yehuda’s cheek.

“Ouch,” Yehuda, said, rubbing his scraped face.

“Oh, I didn’t know it would hurt you. I thought maybe your fat cheeks would protect you.”

Yehuda said nothing, just hoping that Baruch would stop and go away.

“Do you feel it when someone punches you?” Baruch taunted, lifting his arm to punch Baruch in the stomach.

Just then, a teacher walked by, and pulled the boys apart. But Yehuda knew that this was just another day in the schoolyard.

 

***

The two situations that I have described above, while extremely painful to read are very real depictions of the bullying that goes on in our schools. But, as you might have noticed there are differences between boys’ and girls’ bullying.

Carrie Goldman, the author of the book, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, explains that girls tend to do more of the “mean girl” syndrome. The bullying is more underhanded and veiled.  There is taunting and verbal abuse. There are more rumors and exclusion. On the other hand, with boys, you see more of the physical bullying: hitting and using physical aggression to intimidate.

 

According to bullying researcher Dan Olweus, bullying is characterized by three factors:

It is repetitive (not a one-time event in the hall, but a regular ongoing problem).

It is unwanted (not two-way teasing where both parties are having fun, but instead a situation where someone is on the receiving end of taunts and aggression).

It takes place in the context of a power imbalance – a bigger kid against a smaller kid, or multiple kids against a single kid, or a kid with more social capital against a kid with less social capital.

 

Therefore, the situations that Suri and Yehuda find themselves in are definitely bullying. The incidents are repetitive, unwanted, and include a power imbalance.

In her book, Goldman argues that parents and educators often tell the victims to fight back. While a necessary step today, Goldman argues that there is a much more important step towards combating bullying: instead of hitting back, make sure that no hitting happens to begin with. She explains:

Children are not born cruel. Babies in diapers do not assess each other as too fat, too poor, too dark-skinned, too nerdy, too conceited. Born innocent, they start learning stereotypes as soon as they understand language, and we see bullying behaviors in children as young as toddlers. Since pre-schoolers who display marked aggressiveness have a higher likelihood of being bullies in older grades, the earlier intervention begins, the better the results. It is much easier to inculcate kindness and acceptance into a five-year-old who acts like a bully that into a fifteen-year-old who acts like a bully.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

7 Responses to “The Bully Epidemic”

  1. Miriam Arit says:

    Being a nurse we learned how to empathize with our patients…living with sufferings through illness make us so.

  2. YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE DEVIL! LIKE IT WORSE THEN TO MAKE ME EAT SNAKE WHICH OTHER MAY LIKE!

  3. Stephen Boak says:

    Ive had my share of bullies, thing is you get the minority of them that change, an become better people, an the others that remain bullies, an choose to take up positions in high places of power, as you know it will always be in the back of your mind, moving from one bully to another. on top of that Growing up with a Disability, an the stigma that still happens with us, even in these days.

  4. Terrible thing! I share the view: it is possible to teach empathy. Good article.

  5. The bullies are certainly taking over .

  6. After our Mom or Dad spanked us for disobeying them, we sure were sorry we had disobeyed them and was sorry for all the hunger in China etc. It works and nothing is wrong with correction if really applied with LOVE and CARING parents.

  7. Run Guo says:

    Lock those bullies in jail for few days then it will stop. No punishment? no fear! This culture will never change, till messiahs comes.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

Schonfeld-logo1

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

While encouraging your child to take responsibility for bed-wetting (like asking him to change the sheets), remember that it is important not to get angry or make him feel guilty.

As we said, you cannot get rid of a bad habit, you can only change it. But, how?

In order to diagnose separation anxiety, these symptoms must not be isolated and must occur for more than four weeks consecutively.

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

Children develop at different rates – they say their first words, take their first steps, toilet train, read their first word, and lose their first tooth at different times.

Once you understand why you are lying, you might be better able to tell the truth.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/the-bully-epidemic-2/2014/04/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: