Bullying is an act to intimidate or aggressively dominate others by either using force or threat or coercion. It can be repeated or be habitual for the aggressor. Largely prevalent in schools, can make the one who is bullied feel sad, depressed, low on self-esteem and perform badly at school. On the other hand, a bully feels more powerful, is prone to addiction to abusive substances such as alcohol and cigarettes and is also likely to commit crimes. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015, one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year.
Generally, parents do not consider bullying as a big problem compared to alcohol or drug abuse. This negligence increases the problem by lowering the self-esteem of the child being bullied or fostering abusive behavior if he is bullying other kids. Therefore, it is essential for parents to stay alert and regularly communicate with their kids to keep a tab on their activities so that they may get to know if he or she gets involved in any unusual activity in school. It is important to address these issues before they blow out of proportion and cause serious harm.
The National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month aims to raise awareness about bullying, its effect and how it can be prevented. In this article we share with you a few simple ways in which parents can help in checking malicious behavior in their children or prevent accidents.
- Listening to kids: Listening carefully to the kids and spending time to understand how their day went at school can help parents in creating a stronger bond with their children. This, in turn, will help kids become comfortable in discussing things about their life such as what is happening at school, with friends and teachers, and they will be able to easily report any incidents of bullying.
- Discouraging negative behavior: It is normal for kids to become aggressive sometimes. However, it is the parents’ responsibility to address this kind of behavior, if it threatens to get out of hand. Discouraging rudeness and encouraging habits such as helping others or sharing with others, will help children develop the correct attitude and stay calm and be cooperative in the future.
- Discuss bullying openly: Parents should help their kids develop an understanding about bullying by discussing its true nature, how it can be harmful for others and oneself, and how to deal with it. They can share with them a few simple tips to deal with bullying confidently and take help from teachers and adults when needed. Other kids should be encouraged to help those who are being bullied, instead of being mere bystanders. Alternatively, if the kid is a bully, then he or she should be told the negative consequences of such actions.
- Setting clear rules: Defining clear rules and expectations will help kids understand the consequences of such behavior. Parents should make their kids understand what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. But parents must ensure that they don’t sound rude or authoritative as this might instigate the kids further to indulge in bullying.
Address the behavior that underlies bullying
Kids should be taught ways to solve their problems without becoming violent. They should be praised when they implement such techniques. Preventing bullying can provide the kids with a healthy environment where they can grow and succeed socially and academically. It will also reduce the risk of developing any sort of mental health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2015, students who experience bullying are at an increased risk of poor adjustment skills, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression.
If you know someone who is dealing with any form of mental health issue, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can help. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online for further details about the best treatment for mental disorders in Florida.
Read the other articles of the series based on the “National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month”: