More News >
Children have been back in school for more than a month, and one of the worries parents face is how their children are relating with their classmates. Making new friends can be difficult for some children and it’s even harder when a bully is involved. As we observe National Stop Bullying Day October 11, it’s a great time to stand up against and put an end to bullying.
"Bullying is repeated and unwanted negative and aggressive behavior that is over days, weeks, months, and sometimes years. It increases over time and it's repeated and also unwanted," said SSM Health Psychologist Dr. Laurel Kramer.
Bullying is classified into physical, social, and cyber behavior. Physical bullying can include spitting, hitting and shoving. Social bullying includes verbal threats to hurt, harm and damage property to increase fear. Other bullying examples include teasing, starting rumors, and leaving people out of group activities. In addition, cyberbullying on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has increased dramatically in recent years. According to statistics from the iSafe Foundation, more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online and over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the internet.
“Repeated bullying is a risk factor for mental health concerns,” said SSM Health psychiatrist Dr. Nicholas Lane. “Those who are subjected to ongoing bullying can develop depression, anxiety disorders, school avoidance and even suicidal ideation.”
Bullying at school and in the workplace
Bullying doesn’t just occur at school or with kids. It happens in places such as at parties, sports practices and even in the office. According to stopbullying.gov, 21 percent of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying. The Workplace Bullying Institute said 35 percent of workers have experienced bullying on the job.
Boys are more likely to participate in physical bullying whereas girls tend to be the perpetrators of social bullying. The majority of workplace bullying is same-gender harassment. Lane says bullies tend to target those they perceive as weak or different in some way, making people with mental health difficulties an at-risk group.
Here are some tips you can use if you or your child is being bullied:
What if your child is the bully?
Sometimes, it’s just as hard to hear that your child is the bully. It’s important to take these concerns seriously and not minimalize them or become defensive.
“When talking to your child about this, get their perspective before making any accusations,” Dr. Lane said. “And while assuring them of your love and support, let them know that bullying is not acceptable, and you’re there to help them change the behavior.”
If you feel that discipline is needed, do not use physical discipline. Instead, focus on consequences for their actions like taking away their cell phone, TV and video game time, or preventing them from going out with friends. Have your child write a paragraph describing what it would feel like to be in the other kid’s shoes or an apology letter. Focus on positive actions that will lead to good consequences.
When no one speaks up
Sometimes it’s easy for us and our kids to just do nothing at all. If you or your child witness someone that is being bullied, but don’t say anything, then you are taking the role of being a bystander. Bystanders play an important role in bullying by enabling it.
“Bullies will often take silence as implied approval for their behavior,” Dr. Lane said. “A simple ‘stop’ or ‘that’s not cool’ from a bystander can be a powerful deterrent, especially if it comes from a group of people.”
It’s important for parents to stay involved in any bullying situation. At the dinner table each night make sure you’re talking to your children about their day and what is happening at school.
If you’re concerned that your child is being bullied, contact your pediatrician for more resources and support.
Terms | Privacy |
Contact | Careers |
SSM Health complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
Learn more here.