Keeping children safe from harm is an important role of a parent. As pediatricians, we talk to parents about keeping children safe from adults who might harm them, gun safety, media safety and such. But what about children hurting children…what about bullying?
October has been designated National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, so we are sharing some information and resources for increasing your knowledge of bullying. You can empower your child to prevent and handle bullying.
The facts about bullying:
- Bullying is a form of aggression in which 1 or more children repeatedly and intentionally intimidate, harass, or physically harm a victim who is perceived as unable to defend herself or himself.
- One study of 6th-10th graders established 30% of children are either bullying and/or being bullied.
- Bullying is associated with the development of depression, anxiety, isolation, suicidal thoughts and actions.
- Bullying happens in person and virtually. Cyberbullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about another person.
- An isolated child is more commonly a victim. Bullying happens when teachers, other trusted adults, or friends are not present.
What can you do as a parent?
- Talk to your child about bullying. Discuss with your children that bullying is never acceptable and that all children should be treated with respect. Role model this behavior in your own relationships.
- Ask about how things are going at school and other social activities.
- Role play what to do if the child experiences or witnesses bullying.
- Have your child or teen take a pledge against bullying.
- Teach your child to ask for help from you, a teacher, or another trusted adult if bullying is happening.
- Inquire about friendships – encourage children to have loyal friends who will support them if a bullying incident occurs.
- If your child is the bully – set clear limits and non-physical consequences for bullying behavior. Discuss how bullying impacts all children involved.
- Encourage bullying awareness in school and advocate that anti-bullying policies be enacted and enforced in schools.
Here are some additional resources to learn more:
- Healthy Children.org – Bullying: Its Not OK and How You Can Help Your Child Avoid & Address Bullying
- Stomp Out Bullying
- Kids Against Bullying
- Teens Against Bullying