(BPT) - Unfortunately, bullying in schools is all too common. According to StopBullying.gov, between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. While the term "bullying" has certainly become a buzz word, it's also important to understand what it means. The Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education define it as a pattern of unwanted aggressive behavior that causes physical or psychological harm.
"As a high school counselor for over 10 years, I've witnessed bullying and its impacts in different ways - from working with administrators and teachers to put a stop to it in classrooms, to supporting parents and students as they attempt to heal and find the best path forward," said Carol Heavin, a school counselor for Arkansas Virtual Academy who has been in education for 28 years.
National Bullying Prevention Month is a reminder for all of us to think about how we can help stop this behavior in our schools. One of the best ways to help prevent bullying is to empower parents with useful advice, including warning signs to watch for, tips on how to talk to your kids about bullying and information on where to go for help. Because the long-term effects of bullying can be serious for a child, a parent's actions and support can help protect them from harm. Heavin offers the following warning signs and tips:
As a parent, you know your children well and what to expect from them. While some changes in behavior can be noticeable or sudden, others can be hard to spot.
If you suspect your child is a victim of bullying, watch for these warning signs:
How to talk to your kids
If you notice these warnings and suspect your child could be a victim of bullying, talking to your child is a critical step to understanding what is happening and building trust. Keep these things in mind as you decide how and when to talk to your child:
What to do
After you've identified warning signs, and you believe that your child is a victim of bullying at school, there are a few things you should consider and keep top of mind.
Children can be cruel, and adults simply can't chaperone 24-7. For this reason, many times schools don't find out about bullying until it's been taking place for a long time. Students are embarrassed and uncomfortable speaking freely about what's been happening to them. By following this advice, you're already helping to stop bullying and protect your child. For more information, visit www.stopbullying.gov.
For more information on tuition-free, online public schools, visit: www.k12.com.
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