Posted on September 5, 2018 by Enrique Mata
As the 2018-2019 school year begins, kids are starting off fresh with new opportunities to develop friendships and social networks. This is a special time when life-long connections can form. It can also be an emotionally challenging time. In addition to getting to know teachers and getting familiar with school assignments, parents must be vigilant to prevent childhood bullying.
According to the StopBullying.gov website, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones. Research has shown that child life experiences, media violence, fear of becoming a victim and parenting styles are reasons why children might become bullies.
Some of the most important things parents can do to help prevent bullying include:
- Getting to know the school staff by attending any available orientations and taking an opportunity to tour the school.
- Encouraging your child to make friends with other children
- Teaching your child how to say in a firm voice “I don’t like what you are doing” or “Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
- Teaching your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help
- Alerting school officials to problems and working with them on solutions
Make time to listen and talk with your kids. Studies done by the SEARCH Institute reveal that family dinner time talks help children build assets and skills such as feelings of safety and security, positive role modeling, optimism, coping with stress, empowerment, creativity and empathy. Encourage kids to get involved in school or out of school activities. Participation in healthful programs and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
Social and emotional learning can be difficult for kids and requires family support at every step. In some situations kids can develop fears that they will be forced to fight, that the bullying will get worse if they talk about it or that parents or teachers won’t believe them. Reassure kids that they are not alone and praise them for being brave enough to talk about difficult situations. Stay in touch with their teachers and seek out professional help if needed. Parents play a vital role in the prevention of childhood bullying. Let’s do our part in helping children succeed.
To learn more about tips to prevent bullying visit:
- AAP Policy–Role of the Pediatrician in Preventing Violence– http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/1/393.full
- HealthyChildren.org–Bullying–It’s Not Okay– https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Bullying-Its-Not-Ok.aspx
- It Gets Better Project– www.itgetsbetter.org
- National Association of School Psychologists–Bullying Prevention Resources– https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/bullying-prevention
- US Department of Education–Stop Bullying Now– www.stopbullying.gov
To learn more about local emotional health support for children and families:
- Emergence Health Network: (915) 779-1800 http://emergencehealthnetwork.org
- NAMI El Paso at: 915-778-5726 https://namiep.org/
- El Paso Child Guidance Center: 915-562-1999 http://epcgc.org/
- Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center (915) 915-544-8484 http://pdnchildrens.org/
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