October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
Parents, educators, communities do not minimize this epidemic that is impacting and even killing some of our children. Bullying has become so prevalent that 47 states have enacted school anti-bullying legislation. From school shootings to suicides, as a society we can no longer afford the fallout from bullying.
Unfortunately, I have experienced the damage that bullying can inflict on a young spirit. My daughter was a victim in her eighth grade year. We both received unforgettable lessons about the pain of bullying. And although she has recovered and is thriving in high school, the depth of her sadness still haunts me today.
It is important that children understand how their actions can change someone’s life. We continue to see and hear about bullying in the school, in cyberspace and in neighborhoods. Research reveals that the bully is also impacted: they are more likely to be incarcerated and more likely to commit domestic abuse as adults.
What You Can Do
- Talk to the young people in your life. Give them scenarios about bullying and ask what they would do. Ask them if they have ever witnessed someone being bullied. Find out if they’ve ever chimed in on a bullying session out of fear. Tell them if they’re afraid to tell you about it or a trusted teacher or adult.
- Raise a confident child. Most bullies and victimes have self-esteem issues and feel isolated and alone. Talk to your children, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces and nephews and let them know that they are loved.
- Connect to resources:
- Stay in touch. Know what’s going on in your kids’ lives. Monitor their computer use. Ask about their day. Notice changes in behavior and/or friends.
- Advocate for funding of school anti-bullying legislation.