A current problem that children face at school is bullying. This can be verbal like name calling to affect a person’s reputation and relationships or physical which can hurt them or their possessions. It can happen to anyone at anytime. It is important to teach children how to stand up to bullying safely.
Being bullied will have warning signs. Children will become more anxious and depressed. They will be more at risk to use substances or miss school. Deborah Temkin at the U.S. Department of Education states, “Parents should look for behavioral changes in their children. They can be either being bullied or they’re bullying others. Sometimes they are involved in both.”
Parents should ask their children if they have ever felt afraid to attend school. Children are at risk of being bullied if they appear weak, if they are different in some way or if they have problems socializing. Children may fight to defend themselves but being involved in fighting as a teen can increase their risk of violence and criminal behavior as an adult. Adults who remember being pushed, slapped and hit as a child are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety and personality disorders later in life.
Parents who fight at home may be teaching that habit to their children. Researchers at the University of Texas South Western Medical Center found that a positive fighting attitude among family members can be a risk factor for a child’s fighting behavior socially. Parents should be aware of their own attitudes about fighting and how they interact with their children. Parents serve as a role model and teach children how to manage differences which are part of any relationship. Children benefit when parents are able to disagree with love and acknowledge differences with respect. Each individual’s opinion should be heard so that a compromise can be found and implemented.
Children should learn how to manage their own interpersonal relationships by being assertive with their thoughts. Youth who are being bullied should talk to an adult they trust and not keep their feelings bottled up. It is important to talk to someone so they will feel less alone. Children should be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying when it happens. Parents can discuss strategies of how to stay safe by having a “buddy system” in place at all times. Children need to know how to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help when needed. Having arguments once in a while can be healthy if it helps get your feelings out in the open. No one is perfect and people will argue. Individuals who use anger with aggression to harm others though must be stopped. Contact you children’s school administration to discuss a safety plan if your children have been mistreated.