Lockridge holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History. She also homeschools her children.
Contrary to pop culture, being bullied is not a right of passage, and is not something "normal". Victims of bullying often withdraw from society, and suffer daily from taunting, and fear of going out in public.
While some forms of relational aggression — or bullying— are difficult to identify, other overt acts of aggression are easily identified, but often not witnessed by adults who can do something about the situation.
Keep track of such instances of bullying by keeping a bullying journal, or record of how the bully is treating the victim.
How You Can Help a Victim of Relational Aggression
- Does your child ever get hurtful text messages and emails?
- Do people humiliate your child on social media sites, with rude pictures and notes?
- Has the “teasing” gotten out of hand?
If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", your child may be suffering from relational aggression, a form of bullying that uses ignoring, exclusion and intimidation instead of physical acts of hurtfulness.
Don’t just tell your child to “get over it.” The old "sticks and stones" saying is wrong; words can be as hurtful as punches, and these incidents can emotionally scar someone longer than a cut or scrape ever can.
Telling a parent may be the first step to getting the bullying under control, but school and local authorities may need proof if bullying incidents in order to help stop them from occurring again. Instead of a He Said/ She Said scenario, come equipped to a meeting with a bullying journal with accounts and incidents of the relational aggression.
Although some acts of relational aggression are difficult to prove, you’ll need to present as much information to the school or local authorities if you want to get the situation stopped completely.
Things to Document in a Bullying Journal:
- Dates/times of the events
- Names of witnesses
- Transcript of electronic correspondence
- Describe how the bullying made your child feel
- Look for patterns in the events
When you present information in the bully journal include intangible evidence such as how the bullying made your child feel and what you think will happen if the bullying doesn’t stop.
Give specific examples to the authorities of what you want to happen to the bully, so they can understand the severity of the problem, and understand how you want it fixed.
If a copy of the bullying journal doesn't work as a means of evidence with the first level, seek a higher level of authority until the bullying stops. Your child does not have to live in a hostile environment.
For more information on relational aggression, visit these other articles I've written on relational aggression and bullying: