As our kids leave to go to school, one of the issues that parents need to be aware of is bullying.  There are basically three forms of bullying:

  1. Physical – which is the most common form;
  2. Verbal – which includes taunting, malicious teasing, name-calling and making threats; and
  3. Psychological – which involves spreading of rumors, manipulating social relationships and engaging in social exclusions

Bullying affects the school and the children in many different ways. Bullying has a negative effect on the social environment of a school and creates an atmosphere of fear amongst students. Bullying also reduces a student’s ability to learn. Moreover, a child who bullies is more likely to engage in other negative behaviors, such as stealing and taking drugs. Studies show that more than 16% of U.S. school students said that they had been bullied by other students during a school term. 

To address bullying, students, parents, teachers and school administrators are becoming more proactive. The first thing parents can do is raise awareness by looking for symptoms, asking the right questions, listening and understanding. You should teach your child how to avoid bullying situations that expose him/her to bullying and encourage him/her to speak out. Schools are also taking proactive steps to decrease bullying, by increasing safety and supervision in hallways, bathrooms, lunchrooms, stairways and playgrounds. Additionally, schools have developed peer mediation, a program in which staff and students are trained in non-violent conflict resolution. Hopefully, this will make our children feel safer throughout their years at school.