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Sheriffs Deputy Alicia Maxey thinks one thing parents can do to curb bullying is take away their child’s electronics.
“Take them away at night,” Maxey said. “The kids need time to decompress.”
Maxey said parents need to realize that bullying is something that effects most children.
Maxey said parents also need to realize that boys and girls experience bullying in very different ways.
Maxey said when boys have a conflict they address the issue and move on. When girls have a conflict they let it linger. Girls also bully in different ways. Whereas boys usually bully in physical ways girls spread rumors, pass notes, roll their eyes, reveal secrets, exclude other girls and give the silent treatment.
Maxey said she will often ask girls if they have ever bullied another student and they will say no. She then asks if they have ever rolled their eyes, excluded another student or spread rumors. They will almost always say they have.
“They don’t realize they are doing it,” she said.
Maxey said boys usually engage in physical bullying which includes kicking, punching, pushing and shoving.
Maxey said girls also have more cliques than boys.
The cliques exist due to insecurities and the need to belong, Maxey said. They have a hierarchy and rules and usually begin before kindergarten.
In the clique the leader makes the rules about what and who is cool.
“The clique dictates all social behaviors,” Maxey said.
Maxey said the clique usually has members that same the same characteristics no matter who is in the group.
The queen bee is the leader. She usually weakens the friendships of others, others want to please her, she’s not easily intimated and her popularity is based on fear and control.
The sidekick’s power depends on the support of the queen bee.
“She loses the right to express her opinion and her individuality,” Maxey said.
The banker is the person who has all the information. This person is usually friends with numerous groups. She pumps others for information and is rarely excluded due to the fact that she has information on everyone. She causes chaos wherever she goes because she is collecting and sharing information.
The floater has friends in different cliques and the torn bystander apologizes for the queen bee and sidekick’s behavior. She is torn between what is right and her clique. The wannabe will do anything the queen bee asks her too while mimicking her hair and clothes. She changes her opinion depending on whom she is talking to.
Finally, each clique usually has a target, Maxey said.
“The hierarchy of the clique is maintained by having someone at the bottom,” she said. ‘The target is set up by the other girls made fun of and then excluded.”
Maxey said it is important that parents and students realized that bullying is deliberate and repeated hostile activity that is marked by an imbalance of power.
“Bullying includes exclusion, intimidation, threats, name calling, insults, gossip as well as physically hurting someone,” Maxey said.
Maxey said bullying can happen on the playground, in bathrooms, the hallway as well as the Internet.
Maxey said parents should speak to children about what to do if they are bullied or see people being bullied.
They can confront the bully, offer support to the victim in front of the clique leader, get a parent or teacher involved and combat gossip with the truth.
“Learning to resolve conflict is a life skill all children should learn,” Maxey said.