Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Parent to Parent: Bullying
As a parent, you often wonder whether your child is being bullied at school. In today's Parent to Parent, one South Florida family tells their terrifying story and we get some expert advice on what to do if your child is being bullied.
WSVN -- Lorinda Lamken: "The kid was coming after him so he really felt like he was physically in danger."
Charles Lamken: "He would ride by and say 'Jake is dead' just back and forth."
Lorinda Lamken: "We felt pretty helpless."
Lorinda and Charles Lamken say their son Jake, who doesn't want to be on camera, was being bullied by an older kid in their neighborhood.
Lorinda Lamken: "He came home and they were playing this game, it had something to do with slapping him on the back, he had the outline of a hand-print on his back you could see every finger."
Eventually, it got so bad Jake's parents called the police, but the officers said there was nothing they could do leaving all her kids terrified.
Lorinda Lamken: "It got to the point where they never left the house, they were inside the house all the time."
And these parent's feeling powerless.
Charles Lamken: "I had never faced being so helpless, being helpless that you couldn't help your child, you couldn't protect him."
Meline Kevorkian a bullying expert says parents need to know this is a huge problem.
Meline Kevorkian: "Right now, about half of all children in the U.S. say they have been bullied, and one in 10 say it's on a regular basis."
Melanie says it is hard to figure out if it's normal teasing or bullying. Here's what to look for if the abuse is intentional repeated and there's an imbalance of power, meaning, one kid is always in control and remember bullying is not just physical.
Meline Kevorkian: "Have you been excluded, has someone isolated you, has someone spread rumors about you?"
If your child is being bullied, he or she may seem depressed or isolated, they may not want to go to school, want revenge or worse.
Meline Kevorkian: "We have a term now called 'bullycied,' where a child is bullied, they can't take it anymore, they feel there is no way out, and they end their life."
Parents, you have to look for signs and ask questions. If you think there's a problem seek help through the school, but don't take matters into your own hands.
The Lamkens' lives are now back to normal because the bully in their neighborhood moved away.
Lorinda Lamken: "We were lucky because the situation resolved itself, if it hadn't we would have moved, no questions asked. We couldn't have taken it much longer."
Lynn Martinez: "There is some encouraging news, Florida lawmakers are hoping to pass a law that would help protect kids, parents, and teachers from bullying and even cyber bullying over the Internet."
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