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Are You Raising a Bully?

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If the answer's yes, watch out, the bullied are fighting back.

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Even though his school has a "no tolerance" policy against bullying, 16-year-old Billy Wolfe of Fayetteville, Arkansas has suffered since he was 12 and beaten up repeatedly at school. In ninth grade, classmates set up the "Every One That Hates Billy Wolfe" page on Facebook.

Now, Wolfe and his family are fighting back--in the courts. The family has sued one of the bullies and are considering another lawsuit against the Fayetteville School District.

But what if you suspect your kid might have some bully-moves? How can you teach him or her empathy?

Ross Ellis of Love Our Children USA, a prevention organization for violence against children, offers the following tips:

Model positive behavior:
Demonstrate how to constructively solve problems and get along with others, by doing so with your kids and your spouse.

House rules: Be on the lookout for teasing in the home. If an older brother or sister frequently taunts, teases, or bullies your child, he may be more likely to model that aggressive behavior outside the home. Also, limit your child's exposure to violent television, movies and video games.

Set realistic goals: Apply clear, consistent, escalating consequences for aggressive behavior. But don't expect him or her to change immediately. As children learn to modify their behavior, it's important to assure your children that you still love them--it's their behavior that you don't like.

Has your child ever been a bully, or been the victim of a bully?


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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
erin March 28, 2008, 4:06 PM

This story is horrifying on so many levels because no child/kid should have be scared to go to school, wait for a bus or get a drink of water for fear of being hit.

Whether he contributes to the circle of abuse, the parents of the children who are repeatedly beating Billy up should be ashamed of themselves. Clearly they aren’t raising their kids well and something is going on in their homes that allows this type of behavior to grow.

I do think Billy’s parents should consider a different school to give him a chance to enjoy his high school years (if he can) and not end up with a host of other issues (depression, suicidal tendencies, aggression, etc.) down the line.

Genevieve March 28, 2008, 4:25 PM

Yes my oldest son has been bullied — for most of his school years. In the sixth grade it got to the point I feared for him.

That’s when dad came home as a stay-at-home dad. Someone to make sure he got home safely.

My son has high-functioning autism — he doesn’t get the social rules that other kids just know.

Now he’s in a great program and I have ZERO worry about his safety. Why? Because his school is really aware. They teach tolerance to the general education students.

I know that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and the anger and fear. Good for these parents - above all else they’ve set an example for their kids - this is NOT right and you are worthy.


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