Why does Bullying Hit Its Peak in Middle School?
Bullying hits its peak in middle school because of the developmental stages students are going through at this time. The three stages of this age group are:
- Establishing a personal identity.
- Developing independence
- Expanding personal relationships
Because students are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in, they are more influenced by their peers during this time. They don't want to stick out and be different. They are more likely to "go along" even if someone is doing something they don't believe in.
We've all had experience with bullies both in our childhood and grown-ups lives. There are many reasons kids bully. Some of the researched reasons are:
- Bullying is about power - people want to feel powerful
- Many kids are entertained when they can get another student upset. In other words, then enjoy the power of being able to push another person's buttons. Sadly, it is fun for them.
- Kids learn to bully because they've been bullied
- Family problems (death, divorce, low-self-esteem...)
- Kids bully others so they won't be the target of bullies
Here's what we are doing at Durand Middle School to combat bullying:
- "Stop Bullying/Tolerance" lessons given to all grade levels.
- Peer mentors trained to role model leadership, fine character and tolerance. Peer mentor program established to help all grade levels problem solve and resolve conflicts including bullying. In February, the Peer Mentor group presented anti-bullying presentation to all grade levels and all students signed "No Bullying" contracts.
- Adult supervision during unstructured time at lunch.
- Responsible Thinking Process - RTP is a positive, respectful discipline process in which students are asked to refocus and develop a positive plan to change negative behaviors in the classroom.
How do you bully-proof your child?
- Role-play bullying situations with your child. Help them to try not to show anger or fear. Students who bully like to see that they can upset you.
- Say nothing (even smiling confuses the bully) and walk away.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about the situation. Telling is not tattling. If the bullying occurs at school encourage your child to tell a teacher or Mrs. Grant, their counselor. Mrs. Grant has helped hundreds of kids with a program called "Turning Bullies into Buddies". It works!
- Getting the person in trouble that bullied your child does not work very often, as people have a way of retaliating when adults are not watching.
To check out other information regarding bully-proofing your child: