Published: October 9, 2019
This month is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, a time when the world comes together to raise awareness for bullying prevention.
One child or a group of kids repeatedly picking on or shaming another child—whether physically or verbally—is unfortunately nothing new. Many adults have at least one memory of being bullied as a child, usually by an older sibling or by someone at school. What is new today is the various forms bullying has taken, and the magnification of its power to hurt, thanks in part to the widespread use of social media among young people. Such experiences can lead to anxiety, depression, skipping school and even violent acts of retaliation.
The good news is that schools are increasingly responding to the issue. This year’s Bullying Prevention Awareness Month marks the 13th anniversary of its initiation by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. Since 2006, the event has grown to an entire month of education and awareness activities, and is being recognized by schools and communities throughout the world.
Experts also recommend the following positive steps parents can take to address the issue of bullying.
If Your Child is Being Bullied
- Remind them that it’s not their fault and that no one deserves to be picked on.
- Teach kids to respond by remaining calm, letting the bully know of their disapproval and walking away.
- Enlist the help of school officials to put an end to the behavior and to make sure your child is safe.
- Monitor your child’s social media interactions and texting to be aware of any problems.
If Your Child is Acting as a Bully
- Make it clear that bullying is never acceptable.
- Respond decisively with consequences, such as a loss of privileges.
- Work with school staff and the parents of the bullied child to come up with solutions.
- Be a positive role model by treating others with respect. Often, kids who are bullied at home turn out to be bullies at school.
If Your Child Witnesses Bullying
- Encourage kids to tell a trusted adult if they see someone being bullied.
- Teach them not to laugh, encourage the bully or become an audience for the behavior.
- Help them befriend the victim and include him or her in social activities.
Together we can create a world without bullying. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s website, stopbullying.gov.