Too often we hear tragic stories about children as young as eight or nine years old choosing to end their life because they are victims of bullying. Many times parents are not aware that their children are being bullied or that their children are bullying others. But with mental health issues on the rise, now is the time to have those hard conversations with your kids. How do you prevent bullying?
How Parents Can Help Prevent Bullying
#1: Monitor Your Kid’s Interactions on Social Media for any Bullying
Bullying is no longer just physical or verbal: social media has become another channel where bullies harass and embarrass other kids. It’s imperative for parents to establish screen time rules and monitor social media interactions. Parents should be checking their kids’ Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites your child might be using. It is important to talk to your child about appropriate social media and online behavior.
#2: Stay Engaged With Your Children
Parents of both aggressors and victims should spend more time talking with their children, engaging in important conversations by asking the hard questions such as: Did you meet anyone new today? Do you feel safe at school? Do you know anyone that is being picked on or feels like they don’t belong? Are you treating other kids with respect?
#3: Look Out for Warning Signs of Bullying
Parents should also pay attention to the warning signs of bullying. Victims of bullying may:
- Become withdrawn and no longer hang out with certain friends
- No longer get on social media sites or want to attend social events
- Have trouble sleeping
- Show drastic changes in eating habits
Kids who bully other kids may show the following signs:
- Constantly in fights
- Notable increase in aggressive behaviors
- Hanging out with the not-so-nice crowd
- Constantly putting others down
Parents should talk to their children about the harmful effects that bullying can cause to both the bullied and the bully.
#4: Seek Out Support
If a parent is not sure of how to help their child who is being bullied, or a child who is a bully, they can reach out to their school counselor or local police station. Children who have been bullied often deal with low self-esteem and low self-worth. Seeking out mental health support is recommended and can go a long way in helping children rebuild their own self-image.
Bullying has always been an issue; however, social media and modern technology have created a national crisis. Parents are the first line of defense in helping stop this crisis. We must all step up, educate others, and help put a stop to it.
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