As many of you may know, October is National Bullying Awareness Month. I wanted to share some facts regarding bullying, but also share some simple strategies to help your teen through the process. In Merriam-Webster, bullying is defined as abuse or mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger and more powerful. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics:
20.8 percent of students reported being bullied.
64 percent of children who are bullied don't report it.
24.7% of American American students are bullied at school.
Bullying can occur directly or indirectly with your teen either in school or social settings. Bullying can effect your child in various ways too. Either from isolation, shame, anxiety, depression, lack of social interaction with their peers and poor academic performance in school.
Teens are told to walk away, tell an adult or ignore those who bully them. However, some teens will respond with “whatever” and pretend the comments don’t bother them, but in reality they may be internalizing what occurred when bullied.
Here are some simple strategies to prevent your child from getting bullied.
1. Look for warning signs.
Look for changes in sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, change in mood and behavior. In addition, look for changes in somatic symptoms such as headaches and stomach pains. If you notice that something is different with your child, look for non-verbal cues. Many children struggle with telling their parents they are getting bullied, so it is important to look out for signs and talk to your child about bullying. Let your child know it is okay for them to confide in you about getting bullied.
2. Know your facts about bullying.
For parents, I know it may be difficult to hear your child is getting bullied, so it is important to assess the type of bullying that is occurring. Figure out if your child is being physically attacked and may be at risk for danger. Also, assess if your child is being bullied verbally. Once you identify the type of bullying that is occurring, it is important to get school officials involved. Your child’s school maybe offer a bullying prevention program too.
3. Provide emotional support for your child.
Empower your child through the process and offer emotional support for your child. Equip your child on how to use problem solving skills and conflict resolution. Always tell your child that bullying is not their fault and be a listening ear for your child. Furthermore, your child can also see a therapist to learn calming skills to eliminate any over emotional reaction.
Overall, bullying is not something to be ignored or dismissed. It can have some long-term effects on your child and impact their mood and behavior. It is important to learn strategies to prevent your child from being bullying and building resilience.
*If you are looking for further resources regarding bullying, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org