Apr 28 2010

"Bullying" - Child Expert Michele Borba

There seems to be an alarming amount of stories in the news lately about "bullying". If you're a parent of a child in school, you know it's a big concern.  So how do you help your child and what are the signs to look for that your child might be the victim of a bully?  Child and parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba joined us this morning for some helpful and timely advice.

To listen to our conversation with Michele, check out the links at the bottom of this post.

One quick way to help your kids deal with a bully is to remember the word "CALM"

C - be calm

A - be assertive

L - look the bully in the eye

M - make some noise

Signs to look for ...

Repeated change in your child's behavior and regular routines

Clingy ... they don't want to go outside or don't want to go to school

Afraid of incoming texts or emails (cyber-bullying)

Changes in their sleep, lack of focus, changes in their grades

When they come home, they run to the bathroom - 43% of bullying happens in unsupervised school bathrooms

Expensive items leaving your home - your child could be the victim of extortion

They run to the fridge when they get home - especially girls - they are being excluded in the lunchroom and don't feel safe

Hear what Michele had to say (click links below to listen) ...

Dr. Michele Borba - Key Questions to ask your child

Dr. Michele Borba - How to help your child when confronted by a bully

Dr. Michele Borba - Signs to look for ...




Comments (38) -

4/28/2010 4:37:37 AM
Erica United States
thanks so much for the information
4/28/2010 4:40:11 AM
Ben United States
I appreciate the information.  We hear only about how to help our child(ren) if they are a victim.  What do they say about identifying if your child is the bully?  That's a hard pill to swallow but if bullying is happening as a result of your child, it is your (parents) responsibility to properly identify and put an end to it.  Perhaps we could look at it from this angle as well?
4/28/2010 4:54:43 AM
Glenn United States
Eye cantact is a very powerful weapon against bullies. I am 5'8" and by locking eyes with agressive people I have been able to make guy over 6' back down. Most bullies are looking for that moment when you are not looking to sucker punch you and take advantage of you. If you lock on their eyse they do not have a chance to do that.
4/28/2010 5:04:02 AM
Susan United States
I have achild with Aspergars Syndrome a form of high functioning Autism.  This kids miss social cues and are not socially aware of the fact they are BIG targets for Bullying. She has been bullied at school Girl scouts, and other varius places right in front of me and other adults.  When the kids are corrected they snicker and laugh.  Now that she is in Jr. high and next year going into high school it is so much worse. the school is aware and there is supposed to be a NO tolereance policy yet it is still happening. It affect her grades abillity to function daily and entire life.  How do I as a parent support her and deal with this daily. The supports for her are in place at school yet she has so much fear from the kids she is afraid to use them.
4/28/2010 5:08:55 AM
Lisa United States
As I listen to this discussion, I can't help but wonder about the flip side...What is going on with the bullier? What signs should we as parents and educators/social workers look for in the child doing the bullying? How is is best to intervene on the bulliers perspective? My children attend a small parochial school here in NW Ohio, and we have had some incidents with bullying, earlier this school year. Please give some suggestions. Thank you!
4/28/2010 5:37:59 AM
Terri Sturgeon United States
Terri Sturgeon
You don't know how much I needed to here this, this morning. I just found out that my 10 year daughter (5th grade) is still being "bullied" -gotten worse over the last couple of months. I thought it had been taken care of with a talk with her teacher back in Jan/Feb. She is not able to concentrate in her classes, has always been an A mostly B student, but is now failing 1 classes (41 & 46). I took her to a Christian counselor (my daughter very strongly believes in God), but this morning she still has an attitude that she doesn't want to do the "self-help" things the counselor told her to do to help her with her self-esteem and strengthen her. I don't want to make this worse for her (boys calling her names, and a couple of girls "calling her out" to meet them to fight last Saturday). How do I help her??????
4/28/2010 6:01:48 AM
Rebekah United States
Thank you for the info!  In the city I live in, there are many bullies and my kids sometimes come home crying.  I'll use that information and let them read it!  Thanks!
4/28/2010 6:09:33 AM
Michelle Santos United States
Michelle Santos
Our son ( 6th grader ) was being bullied on his bus from the start of the school year & unfortunately it happens still, although it has lessened recently.  Name calling & verbal abuse only progresses to the inevidible - physically fighting.  My husband & I didn't find out until the bully thought it would be funny to take our sons lunch out of his backpack & leave it on the bus.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back.  We spoke to our son ( & daughter ) letting them know that they need to make sure that the adults are aware of what's happening to him & that he is to defend themselves & their property.  We let them know that their personal space needs to be respected & also that they have to respect other people's space.  Then we spoke to our sons bus driver, school vice principle & let them know, in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS was this something that is tolerated by us.  We're not raising a bully nor are we tolerating our children to be bullied.  Our son & daughter know that they are to defend themselves, but that there are channels that MUST be gone through before that comes about.  The sad thing about all of this is that the bullies usually have parents that could care less about their children & what they do.  I know that from speaking to the school vice principle that there is a zero tolerance for bulling...where is it being enforced?  The buses DO NOT have adult monitors to watch these kids ANYWHERE on the bus; they do not have anyone in the bathrooms to make sure that this does not happen there.  Honestly, what recourse are they offering our children other than to say nothing & 'suck it up', so to speak?  I'm proud to say that my son prays for these kids when he goes to his youth group on Wed nights & has even extended an invite to someone that was harassing to attend youth group.  I pray for the day that this all stops; that more parents will be involved in their childrens lives & we no longer have to speak about this.  PLEASE, if you love your kids, GET INVOLVED WITH THEM & THEIR LIVES!!!    
4/28/2010 6:10:22 AM
Cheryl S. United States
Cheryl S.
It is so weird that I heard all of this on KLOVE this morning since my 12 yr old just the past week has been having this happen to her which is a shock to me! She is a good girl and she has some good friends but all of a sudden these other girls are deciding to be against my daughter! It is so sad when I can not be there to protect her. She actually just went to her guidance counselors yesterday which they were very good to her and told her to come to them again if it continues. Still you worry constantly and it makes you sick inside!
4/28/2010 6:25:38 AM
Casey United States
I have been dealing with the same thing with my 11 year old - 5th grade daughter.  We are just trying to teach her the "right" thing to do when dealing with these types of people.  Name calling, attempting to fight, etc. are not tolerated in our house.  We have worked with the teacher, principal, and dean of students and it is slowly getting better.  The best thing, in my opinion, to do is to teach your child how to be strong from within, to help with self-confidence, and to let them know you are behind them no matter what.  It is exhausting work but this is what we do for our kids.

Much love,
4/28/2010 7:14:23 AM
Brittany United States
My brohther is 15 years old. Last year I received a phone call that no one should have to hear. I found out that my brother had tried to kill himself three times because he was being bullied in school. My heart sank because I was away from home at school. Thankfully my brother is doing better and has not had any thoughts of suicide in over a year. Bullying is a horrible silent killer and often times goes un noticed til it is far to late. Thank you for talking about it on your show this morning!!!
4/28/2010 7:18:26 AM
Shannon United States
We have had some bullying in our 5th grade class that has become a major issue.  We had a wonderful 5th grade christian teacher that stepped up and tried to help. She had a time in her class room that the students could write on a piece of paper what was bothering them, and then the excersice was to throw it in the trash but during this time the students started sharing with each other and abuse at home came up. The students I feel like really benefited from the excersie but a handful of parents are out raged at the teacher, even went to the local news. Now the teacher is being attacked, it is so sad that public teachers hands are tied so many times.
4/28/2010 7:19:36 AM
Nancy Kramer United States
Nancy Kramer
When my son was in 6th grade, he got picked on relentlessly. We told him to tell the teachers, but he said they saw what was going on and did nothing. Finally we told him that he could always defend himself. "You're giving me permission to hit back?" Yes, we were. The following morning, the call came from the Asst. Principal that our son had been in a fight. "Good!" The principal was shocked, but when I explained all that had been happening, she was totally behind us. The others were punished, but our son wasn't. He's now 16 and hasn't had a problem since.
4/28/2010 7:20:25 AM
Laura Langstaff United States
Laura Langstaff
As I listen to your program this morning it brings back some deep pain in my life. My son Nathan suffered with Tourettes Syndrome growing up and was teased and bullied for years. Nathan was a wonderful human being, compassionate and loving, He loved our Lord Jesus Christ and worshiped him like no one I've ever seen. He shared the love of our Lord with everyone he new and met. One afternoon on the school bus he was trying to talk to a young man about Jesus and was told to go blow his head off....Nathan did that very evening. It has been 8 years May 16, and it still feels like yesterday. Bullying is very real. I have forgiven. And I spend my life trying to show the love as my son did.
4/28/2010 7:22:26 AM
Mary Helen United States
Mary Helen
I can use some major help with this !! My daughter is a 6th grader , she is still being bullied and in front of the teacher ! He knows the girls that bully my daughter and was told before but he still continues to ignore it . I bought my daughter a cell phone to make sure that she can call me anytime to go to the school to pick her up if something happens . Which is really hard to be on alert all the time . It is so hard not to get mad at this situation .
4/28/2010 7:22:32 AM
Susan United States
My son, who is now 16, continues to be bullied at school and now over the internet.  He attends a "Christian" school and I have more than once approached the administration and for reasons only God knows, they have chosen to turn their eyes in a different direction.  Their reasoning is that my child needs to learn social skills to "get along" with these kids.  The Bible clearly says to stay away from people like this. My son says he doesn't care about these kids any more but I know that it has to be affecting him. I agree that we can work with our children and help them through this but there will be times when we are not around and we must have faith that it is God's battle, not ours.  It saddens me that the adults and leadership of homes and schools cannot get a handle on this.  
4/28/2010 7:22:59 AM
Sarah United States
I was bullied through out most of my school years. After several years I finally turned to my grandparents (who were raising me at the time) for help. They asked my several questions and finally concluded that I must have done something to the person bulling me and therefore it was MY falt. Once they made up there mind of this there was no changing it. Needless to say the bullying continued and go much worse, there were several days where I considered killing my self and I actully attemped once. Most of my life I felt unloved, unwanted, hated, and useless I had convienced myself that God had made his first mistake. If my story does nothing else I hope that it tells parents to DO SOMETHING don't ever tell your child that it is there falt. No child ever deserves to feel the way I did for ANY reason.
4/28/2010 7:30:00 AM
BJ McElyea United States
BJ McElyea
My question would be what do we as parents need to do if it is other parents harrassing/bulling out teenagers?  We are going through a situation at this time where the children seemed to have worked things out but the mother of one girls is continuing the drama and harassing teen girls with emails threatening to call police - they cannot look at her daughter, speak her name in public, breath her name.  This mother, along with other adults, are calling our girls names that no adult should call a child.  Making comments about how these girls need to be handled. AND questioning our girls christianity.  It is a very upsetting situation and sad to think adults would act this way towards a teen.
4/28/2010 7:30:42 AM
Justin United States
My daughter who is 13 years old is in Therapy now, for the bullying she is havng from not one but multiple girls at her school, due to them being jealous of her, and until she started rebelling using offensive language on Internet chat rooms I had no idea how bad it was. I have been to her school numerous times, the first being in October of the new school year, to express my concerns. Recently the principle even started blaming all the drama on her and her alone, even after finding notes written about her and passed around school, but yet it is her that caused it in his eyes. Now get this 2 of her Teachers are now harassing her, talking to her about her personal life out of school, just because they have a few of their favorites who are a part of that group that are doing this, which I have addressed as well, to the extent I had to call the Board of Education. They still are doing this, and I had no other choice than to get her the help she needed from a Therapist. Please say a prayer for my family as it is a very nerve racking time in my household.
4/28/2010 7:31:07 AM
Elizabeth Paxton United States
Elizabeth Paxton
I too have a son with Autism.  He is not high functioning and currently attends a special school.  I worry about the day he has to attend public school.  What kind of tips can you give us for dealing with future bulling situations with special needs kids.
thanks so much
4/28/2010 7:33:42 AM
My son loves God and has a very outgoing, friendly personality. It sounds great, but unfortunately it has caused him to be bullied his entire school life. He was repeatedly ganged up on by not just one kid at a time, but 3 at a time and forced to fight to defend himself. His grades and self esteem plumeted!! I would literally throw up after I dropped him off at school when he was in 5th grade because I knew everytime he would go to the bathroom those three kids would follow him and cause him to fight. Then HE would be the one that the counsellors would make feel like he had done something wrong. I was at my wits end. I changed the school he went to and put him in a mixed marshal arts class that has a christian teacher. His grades and self esteem has improved, but I don't think he will ever be the same kid. His fire still doesn't burn near as bright.  His friend "john" goes to a CHRISTIAN School. John is an American Citizen by birth, but his race is Indian(from India). John has meltdowns frequently because the CHRISTIAN kids call him and his 2 beautiful sisters brown "poo poo" and terrorists, etc.. He wouldn't even tell his mother what they said this last time because it was so disturbing. This is a lovely christian family, and they can't even find support or peace from our fellow brothers and sisters. Even a couple of teachers are involved in this bullying. How pathetic!! None of the school officials will help, and there isn't any other Christian School around thats any better. I think she is trying to put him in public school where he may get a little peace.
4/28/2010 7:34:24 AM
Gayla United States
Thank you for addressing this issue.  My daughter had been being bullied through high school 2006-2009 and found that even adults were bullying her at her work place. She has a hard condition and wasn't suppose to be under stress.  This made it very difficult. We tried all those things that are being suggested today but we had to finally take her out of the school and allow her to get her GED and now she is doing wonderful.  She is going to college to be a vet tech and hasn't had any problems since.
4/28/2010 7:36:06 AM
Candice United States
I would love to hear from some God fearing people how to help a child if they are doing the bulling. My son is 4 and although he is not "bullying", he is having trouble keeping his hands to himself. It has escalated to the point that he is about to be kicked out of daycare. We have tried everything, negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement, good behavior charts, etc. He understands what he does is wrong and can recite the "rules" and all of the books we read such as "hands are not for hitting" etc... I am at a breaking point. He is the most loving, sweet, child and I just don't understand why this is happening. He is given so much love and attention all the time and has Jesus in his heart.
4/28/2010 7:37:44 AM
Denise Johnson United States
Denise Johnson
Bullying starts extremely early, as I found out last summer with our two year old son.  He was at his babysitters and he and the only girl there at the time, she was three, and he had a purse and was putting blocks into it, and she wanted it.  Well she ended up strangling him to the point of his eyes having the circulation cut off and what you usually see in a domestic violence situation.  I was horrified.  To make matters worse, her mother works in the school system and father is a police officer.  You know change has to start at home, but with that situation, we felt back against a wall.  I did file a complaint with family services so hopefully something good has come out of it.  We took our son out of the home because the sitter wasn't willing to take the girl out.  Now at another center he has become the victim again.  This time the child involved has been dismissed.  Are there certain kids who have a "beat me up" message attached to them that makes them an easy target or what.  It's very depressing to know that somehow our son is an easy target.  He is not mild mannered either, and expresses himself clearly, so I can't imagine what the deal is.  Very frustrating for a parent.
4/28/2010 7:47:25 AM
Hattie Shipley United States
Hattie Shipley
My son was bullied and because of the harrassment and embarrassment we believe he turned to huffing to escape the fear and memory. He drowned in 2005 because he was huffing. We have a web page with this information on it if you would like to go to it. If you google Xanga Rememberinganthony it should come up. I would like to talk to you more about this, but have an appointment to go to.
Thank you,
Hattie Shipley
4/28/2010 8:15:15 AM
Rachel Hughes United States
Rachel Hughes
I would just like to thank you for talking about this topic . Bullying comes in all forms.My 16 year old daughter has been picked out by a girl at school and bullied for years. Our school has done nothing to stop it.I would just like to say that bullying is not just about being hit or shoved. I have thought that would be easier to deal with then the cruel things that come out of their mouths. When you think of bullying you think about the "nerdy" kid being picked on.My daughter is the opposite of the nerdy kid and she gets picked on constantly. They have made her high school experience torture and we are requesting for her to graduate early so she can move on. You name it they have done it.They have put things all over facebook about her. They have wrote a bad song about her and played it to other students. The list goes on and on. I have made teachers aware of this and the response I get is that it is not happening in there classroom and they can't do anything about it and that this bully of a girl is always good for them.On a positive note my daughter listens to k love all of the time and draws strength from it.I believe there is nothing you can do to stop it when it starts. I have looked in the face of my beautiful daughter and seen so much hurt and I can't fix it.I do believe her bullying comes from jealousy on their part. She is popular and has a sweet boyfriend and I think they just can't stand for anyone to be happy. The old saying is true misery loves company.
4/28/2010 8:27:11 AM
Michele Williams United States
Michele Williams
I'm a PE teacher in a public school.  I work diligently with students to help them stop bullies from hurting them.  I encouraged kids to learn as early as kindergarten to tell an other student firmly and kindly that they did not like the words or action just said.  
I have survived being bullied by my boss several years ago.  God taught me a tremendous amount about grace through that experience.  I prayed daily for that person.  I must say that that person is a good friend now because we dealt together with the cause of the problem.  
4/28/2010 8:36:26 AM
Jane United States
Here is our Bully Story: knottyawetizmmama.blogspot.com/.../...nd-i-am.html

Here is my Letter to the School District: knottyawetizmmama.blogspot.com/.../...istrict.html

A group of Blogging Mothers came together and we did a mass email campaign to the school district, by 8am when they arrived in their offices there were 132 emails (eventually reached over 200)requesting the school to transfer my son Immediately and within 30minutes he was placed in one of the top Schools in our District.
4/28/2010 8:37:56 AM
Ann Norman United States
Ann Norman
As a Special Ed. teacher I observe bullying all over campus. I try teaching my students how to recognize it so they know when it is happening to them or when they are bullying.
I did an action research project on bullying and found that the most annoying child is not protected from bullying. Adults often are present when bullying happens and do nothing as they feel the child deserves it. Children that are bullied can be bullies themselves. I think everyone needs more education on what bullying is and the steps to prevent it.
4/28/2010 8:43:06 AM
Kara United States
As a school teacher, I listen to KLOVE every morning on my way to work, and every evening on my way home.  This morning I was listening and heard the CALM steps that Dr. Borba gave.  When I arrived at school, a student came up to me in tears because another student was bullying her.  I was able to use Dr. Borba's steps to help this student deal with her bully.  Thank you KLOVE for providing this kind of real-world advice.
4/28/2010 8:46:59 AM
Carla Capps United States
Carla Capps
My son,13, is made fun of all the time at school and he goes to a christian school.  They call him gay and things like that.  Of couse he's not, he know what the bible says about that.  I try to give him things to say or do, like standing up for himself, but he doesn't have a mean bone in his body.  One day he let his frustration out on someones backpack on the floor and he got in trouble for it.  The teachers can't fix what they don't see i guess.  So since then he just takes it.  I don't know what else to do for him.  Next year he is going to a somewhat public school and I'm afraid for him.
4/28/2010 8:51:28 AM
SL United States
My 12 year old son has been bullied for a year and just recently it has gotten worse. I have been talking to the school about the same bully that was suspended for three days at the beginning of the school year for attacking my son. He is harrased all day at school by three boys and was punched in the face by one of them  in front of me. I decided that I am not going to sit around and let the school try to deal with these children so I got the Police involved. The police told the parents, the next time my son is threatened of touched by their son, I will be   pressing charges. So far, it seemed to work with one of the three boys. I'm done messing around and I believe very strongly that it's the parents resposibility to teach their kids how to treat other people.
4/28/2010 9:36:52 AM
lLou United States
first off i dont type well bear with me.my name is Lou i live in shreveport la.this hit a hot button today. i move here 40 years ago, prior to that i was an air force brat that moved every two years.from 7th and 8th grade i was bullied by three guys who had a mission in life [i thought]to terrorize me at school daily.                      i HATED going to school,begged teachers to say inside during recess i felt like veal in a meat grinder.                                             i told my parents about it but guess i didnt get it acrose how bad it was.i atempted suicide 3 time that year. i was aquiet,shy kid one you would quickly forget in a crowd .that changed. i snapped one day stole my dads 22 revolver a box of shells and shot up the outside of the jr.high.a band teacher was wounded in the heal before he tackled me,i was sent to the old juvinile hall, my night had begun.attemps at suicide, alcohol,drugs,instatutionsto ect,etc. long story short,after running from god for 40 years i surrendered to christ,but not in time to avoid alienating 3 children of my own.PARENTS LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN THEY MIGHT JUT BE CRYING OUT FOR HELP...                                                                            IN HIS NAME,                              Lou
4/28/2010 10:03:55 AM
Caleb.L United States
  I know that you parents are angry adn fustrated but the only thing that can help is Jesus Christ adn prayer.  Here is  2 scriptures that I hope helps.  Mathew 5:44,45 in  the KingJames bible says  BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, BLESS THEM THAT CURSE YOU, DO GOOD TO THEM TAHT HATE YOU, AND PRAY FOR THEM WHICH DESPITEFULLY USE YOU, AND PERSECUTE YOU: THAT  YE MAY BE THE CHILDREN OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN: FOR HE MAKETH HIS SUN TO RISE ON THE EVIL AND ON THE GOOD, ADN SENDETH RAIN ON THE JUST AND THE UNJUST.    

  We must be a example for our children.  Let us pray for the bullies!  Let us pray that Jesus  shows his love,grace, and merecy on them.   May Jesus be real to them.   May they know  Jesus in such a personal and real way.    We have been called to be light s to this dark world. Let us shine the love of Jesus!    Only Jesus can change this.   But we need to do our part.   This is by praying and obeying his word.     Tell your kids not to use thier hands but the word of God to defend themselves.   Give them schriptures like Phhilipinas 4:13 and others taht remind them  that they can do it through Jesus Christ and scriptures taht tell them about Jesus's love!           THE WORLD WILL CHANGE BY ONE ACT OF KINDNESS AT A TIME!
4/28/2010 2:05:23 PM
K United States
I was bullied from the 9th-12th grade.  Not by just one person - teachers even got their kicks.  It became so horrible, there was even an attempt of suicide.  

35 years later there are still many scars.  I won't attend school reunions, I burned all of my high school year books and still stay away from local hangouts.  The trauma caused, still has effects on my daily living.  

bullying has to stop - again 35 years later I have scars.  All I can do is pray for all involved.

4/28/2010 3:58:42 PM
Lori United States
My 11 yr old son has been bullied a lot this year.  The first time he came to me crying because he could no longer stand the name calling, I went straight to his teacher.  The teacher got my son and the bully together to have them "work it out".  This made the bullying worse because then the bully told all the kids in class that my son was a tattle tail baby.  My son is a wonderful, smart and funny kid.  He cares about school, his family and has love for our lord Jesus Christ.  I worry that this may progress to the point of suicide and have to think about this daily.  I talk to my son every day and tell him what a wonderful person he is.  I hope that next year things will change when he starts Junior High.  I can only pray for this horrible problem to end!
4/28/2010 7:45:14 PM
Ann United States
I can not believe some of you people!!! The worst thing you can tell your child is that all kids go through it, and to just ignore it. I went through this for YEARS!!! The school didn't do anything either. I tried to take my own life and ended up going to counseling. To this day I still think of the bullies and pray that they learned how to treat people better. And I also wonder if their own kids are being bullied. I wish someone would have taught me how to fight back instead of just ignoring it because that didn't do me a damn bit of good!! I know it sounds mean but after the hell they put me through, I don't care. I hope their own kids are going through it! It's just something you never forget.
4/29/2010 4:33:24 AM
Karen United States
Thank you for this program.  My daughter, 16, has been going through this for several years.  I've talked to teachers and principals.  Yesterday she didn't go to school again, saying she felt sick.  She is going to a christian counselor but I felt I needed to do more.  I heard someone say Tue. that teen suicide is not an epidemic now, it's pandemic. That is so sad.  These should be the best years of their life and instead other kids are making it the most miserable time.  I called my daughter's principal today and gave him a name.  Many of these kids spread rumors as a form of bullying.  This can be devastating for teenagers trying to fit in.
Thank you again for your concern.
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