- By Deb Balzer
Back to School: Know the Warning Signs of Bullying
For many children, the start of a new school year can be stressful, especially if they've been victims of bullying in the past. Mayo Clinic Children's Center psychologist Dr. Bridget Biggs says parents and caregivers should know the warning signs. "If your child is reluctant to go to school, stressed after spending time online or avoids social situations, he or she may be being bullied." Dr. Biggs points out that consequences of bullying can be serious. She says victims are at increased risk of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, self-harm, poor grades and in rare cases, suicide.
Dr. Biggs shares these tips for parents and caregivers on how to help children who are victims of bullying:
- Talk it out – Ask your child about concerns.
- Learn – Get information from your child about what's happening.
- Take notes – Record details of bullying events.
- Discuss how to respond – Walk away. Get help from trusted adult or peer.
- Build self-esteem – Encourage your child to get involved in positive activities.
- Team up – Reach out to teachers.
If the bullying doesn't stop, contact the school or proper authorities.
Dr. Biggs says bullying comes in many forms: physical, verbal, emotional, social and online. Creating a culture of respect in and out of the classroom is key to bullying prevention.
Journalists: Sound bites are in the downloads.