High-profile cases of teen bullying have rocked the nation. Instances of teen suicide as a result of bullying have led many parents to worry about their own children and wonder what they can do.
How to Know Your Teen is Being Bullied
Many kids won’t broadcast they are being bullied so parents need to watch for the signs. Your teen might invent ways to get out of school or other situations in which they experience bullying. Trouble sleeping and concentrating can also indicate your teen is being bullied. Behavioral changes such as depression, irritability and even physical illness are also good indicators. Knowing your teen’s regular routine and watching for changes in it is a good sign he is being bullied.
If your child is being bullied, it is important to help him know that there isn’t anything wrong with him and that he is loved and accepted. Restoring his self confidence will go a long way toward moving on from bullying.
What Teens can Do
Avoidance is a good idea; however, your child should not have to drastically alter his life to avoid a bully. For example, your teen can take a different route to class if a particular hallway is a problem. If your teen is confronted, encourage him to walk away. Most bullies thrive on the reaction so no reaction provides little incentive to bully.
If your child can’t avoid a bully, tell him to stand tall and talk convincingly to show the bully he can’t be pushed around. Your teen should avoid physical violence which usually just makes the situation worse.
What Schools Should Do
It is incumbent on your teen’s school to keep the attending children safe, including keeping them safe from each other. Make sure the school is informed of any instances of bullying and follow up to make sure the school takes action. If you feel your concerns are not being addressed, contact the school board or PTA.