Combat Bullying: A How-To for Parents

Adolescence is a beautiful and ugly experience all rolled into one awkward package.

Not all preteens and teens are bullied in their youth; however, for those who are, adolescence can be a nightmare.

As a bullied youth, I can attest to the importance of knowing the warning signs of bullying and opening the lines of communication with your children.  Just beginning the conversation about bullying can make a world of difference. But before you can begin the conversation , it is important  that you understand bullying and it’s many different forms.

Bullying Defined:  

Bullying is not just name-calling. It can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The Effects of Bullying

Bullied youth have an increased risk for the following health effects:  depression, anxiety, sleeps difficulties, and poor school adjustment.

 

Here are some helpful tips from stopbullying.gov that will help you talk to your kids about bullying and identify avenues to prevent bullying (the following text is from stopbullying.gov)

 

How to talk to your kids about bullying

  • Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.

  • Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.

  • Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.

  • Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

 

Help Kids Understand Bullying

Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Kids need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.

  • Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.

  • Talk about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away

  • Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.

  • Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.

  • Watch the short webisodes and discuss them with kids.

 

For More Information About Bullying visit:

CDC Violence Prevention

Stop Bullying Government Site

 

For those of you with younger children let Big Bird help you explain bullying.

Emely Elugardo grew up at the beach but has been a Gainesville resident since 2007. She attended the University of Florida both for undergrad and graduate school, earning Public Relations and Public Health degrees. Emely values nutrition, is a proud vegetarian, and used to work at the Levy County Health Department as a Health Education Consultant/Health Educator. She currently works at the Gilchrist County Health Department as a Planner. Emely loves being active and spending time outside but her favorite way to spend a weekend is at home with friends and family. Fun Fact: Emely is a beach bum & misses the smell of the ocean.