Bullying Prevention: What Parents Need To Know
October is Bullying Prevention Month, a topic that is very much on the minds of many schoolchildren. Statistics show that 35% of children have been bullied at school and 30% of young people have reported that they have bullied others.
The ramifications of bullying are significant and dangerous. A Yale University study showed that bullying victims are much more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. LGBTQ students are at an even greater risk of being bullied than others. And just witnessing others being bullied can have a harmful effect on a child. Almost one-third of youth say they have seen bullying in their schools.
It’s important as parents to keep in mind that bullying can take many forms. It can be physical—pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, and kicking. A child can be abused verbally, through name calling, teasing, being the victim of rumors or lies, being threatened with words, and degraded and belittled. There is a tremendous amount of cyberbullying taking place on social media, which is a huge concern for parents today. And there is social bullying—when a child feels excluded or is the recipient of sexual or offensive comments, gestures, or texts.
Unfortunately, often parents have no idea that their child is being bullied or acting in a bullying manner. It’s essential, therefore, for parents to cultivate relationships with their child so he or she feels comfortable sharing feelings and experiences. Cultivating a relationship with your child’s teacher’s and principal is also an important way of keeping tabs on what behaviors are being acted out in school.
Below are two videos to help guide parents as they address the issue of bullying with their children.
In this first video, Shannon van Loon, Assistant Executive Director of WJCS Children, Youth and Family Services, explains the approach of WJCS anti-bullying programs which are aimed at empowering students to share their fears and vulnerabilities and learn how to build positive relationships.
In this second video, Shannon shares recommendations for parents so they can stay alert to the signs and symptoms of bullying.