Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bullying: A Lethal Epidemic

The statistics are truly staggering! Research shows that suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, and targets of bullying are two times more likely to consider suicide as a solution than those children who are not bullied. Research also shows that half of teen suicides are directly attributable to bullying.
Not only should schools have programs in place to address bullying, but parents need to pursue every avenue open to them to address bullying and better ensure their children are not bullies, are not being bullied, and, worst yet, become a suicide statistic.
Here are some steps you as parents can take:
• Communicate with your children. They need to be able to talk to you about their concerns, fears and about possible bullying incidents whether they or someone else is the victim.

• Despite your child’s plea not to report bullying, you must do exactly that. You can often do it in such a way that the bully doesn’t know who reported him. Most likely the bully has multiple victims.
• Monitor your children for any signs of depression. Because teens have a tendency to want to spend large amounts of time in their rooms, insist on family time and meals together so that you can get a better assessment of your child’s mental outlook. Monitor grades and social involvement since both of these tend to drop when a child is depressed for some reason.
• Communicate with your child’s school and take the necessary steps to stop bullying. If you cannot get help through the school, report the incident to police. They have ways to track cyber-bullying as well as face-to-face bullying.
• Speak out and advocate for safe schools. Get involved with PTA and other organizations where you can increase awareness, make a difference, and get the help of other parents to address this deadly bullying epidemic.
• Look inside your own family. Recent research shows that bullying which comes from siblings is as damaging as peer bullying.
Picture credit:  Krzysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski

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