What can parents do?
Here are some tips for parents that are provided on the Mental Health America website:
Take Steps to Stop Bullying Checklist -
- Start early. Parent/child talks are essential. Teach kids to respect others before they start school and continue to talk about this topic on an ongoing basis. Even small acts of teasing should be stopped in their tracks. Don’t fail to correct this kind of behavior due to a child’s young age. This is exactly when to stop it.
- Teach your children how to be assertive. Encourage your children to express their feelings clearly, say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, stand up for themselves without fighting and walk away in dangerous situations.
- Stop bullying when you see it. Adults who remain silent when bullying occurs are encouraging it and making it worse.
- Listen and support children who speak up. Telling an adult about bullying is not easy for children. If a child comes to you seeking assistance with bullying, spend time listening to them and provide affirmation and support before taking actions. Read through and discuss our Bullying Checklist with your child as a resource.
- Recognize the signs of depression. Youth who experience persistent bullying can develop signs of depression like sadness, isolation, poor concentration and sleeping problems. These symptoms can affect their relationships and school performance. Many children do not recognize or speak up about their emotional needs. Make sure to reach out and get them help when you see these signs.
- Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior. Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn't stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to.
- Team up. Work with your PTA or local MHA affiliate to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. Help them develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments.