Making Sure 'Back to School' Doesn't Mean 'Back to Bullying'
Parents can help teach kids to deal with the problem, expert says
SATURDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For some children, the start of school means the beginning of bullying.
Despite widespread efforts to deal with the problem, bullying is a persistent issue in schools, says Donna Henderson, a professor of counseling at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"The goal is to create a no-bullying environment for children. It's hard because we live in a world that accepts violence, intimidation and power as currency in life," Henderson said in a university news release.
Henderson offered tips for parents to prevent their children from becoming bullies or victims:
- Ask school officials and teachers about what they do to prevent bullying and hold schools accountable for their anti-bullying policies.
- Watch for warning signs in children at the start of the new school year, such as sudden changes in behavior and not eating.
- When you see bullying behavior, call it bullying and tell your children that it's unacceptable behavior.
- Discuss bullying with your children. Use real situations, news stories, television programs and movies as opportunities to talk about bullying.
- Regularly ask children about bullying and address any problem immediately.
- If your child is being bullied, letting them know you understand and share their distress can help them feel better.
- Discuss and/or role play possible responses to bullying, such as walking away, not showing emotion, staying in groups to avoid being singled out, and confronting a bully.
- Do some self-assessment. If you use intimidation in your dealings with others, you may be setting a bullying example for your child. Or if you're bullied by other adults and don't put a stop to it, your child will believe that's the way to respond to bullies.
The Nemours Foundation has more about bullying.