by Jody Pierce, LCSW, ED
School has started and many kids are excited to go back to a place that feels positive and safe. Unfortunately, some have been victims of bullying and returning to school feels anything but positive. How we approach this issue as parents, grandparents, and as a community makes a difference.
According to one study, Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019, about 20% of students ages 12 – 18 reported experiencing bullying. Bullying often includes:
- Talking about hurting someone
- Spreading rumors
- Leaving kids out on purpose
- Attacking someone by hitting them or yelling at them
Bullying does not always happen in person. In fact, today a lot of bullying happens online or through text messages or emails. Postings or rumors on social media sites and sharing embarrassing pictures or videos can be common and are very destructive.
The effects of bullying are profound. Kids who are bullied often feel like they are different, powerless, unpopular, and alone. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves. Bullying can lead to the following:
- Feelings of sadness and loneliness
- Feeling physically sick
- Problems at school
- Bullying of other kids
- Feelings of isolation
- Feeling rejected
- Increased depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide
Kids who bully need our help too. They may be copying friends, trying to fit in, or feeling bad about themselves. Bystanders, or those who witness the bullying, can make a huge difference when they intervene on behalf of someone being bullied.
What we can do:
Studies have shown that adults can help prevent bullying by talking to children about bullying, encouraging them to do what they love, modeling kindness and respect, and seeking help.
As a community, our work to create a culture of respect is one of the best approaches to stopping the bullying.