By Lauren Pastrana


MIAMI (CBSMiami) — October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.

One in four kids say they’ve been bullied.

Depending on the age group, up to 40% of students say they have been digitally harassed or “cyber bullied”.

According to StompOutBullying.org, bullying is at an all-time high.

Parents can sometimes feel at a loss as to what to do, so today’s “Lauren’s List” has some tips to help them help their children deal with the problem.

  1. Watch For Warning Signs- Does your child seem afraid of going to school or make up excuses to stay home? Do they ever come home with torn clothing, damaged property or unexplained cuts and bruises? Maybe they have trouble sleeping or a loss of appetite and their grades are starting to slip. All of these could be warning signs of a deeper issue, like bullying.

 

  1. Approach With Caution- Experts say asking your child outright if they’re being bullied rarely yields a truthful response. Instead, ask things like “I’ve heard about bullying in the news. Does anything like that happen at your school?” OR “Are there kids at your school who exclude you on purpose?” If your child still doesn’t respond to that, try putting a positive spin like “Who do you sit with on the bus?” or “Who is your favorite friend to hang out with this year?” Those answers might also be revealing.

 

  1. Acknowledge the Effects- Some parents might think bullying will “toughen their child up” or that it’s a normal rite of passage. But it’s important to acknowledge the possible effects and why allowing bullying to continue isn’t worth it. Victims of bullying may suffer from loss of self-esteem, severe depression, drug and alcohol use, and in some cases may even lead to self-harming or even suicide.

 

  1. Get Help- Once you’ve established your child is being bullied, it’s time to take action. Contact the school. Set up a meeting. Be prepared, but try not to go in angry. Give the facts and ask what can be done to fix the problem and what policies if any the alleged bully may have broken. Get in touch with a mental health counselor if necessary. And if your child has been threatened contact law enforcement immediately.

 

CLICK HERE For more information on bullying prevention and awareness.

Do you talk to your children about bullying?

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If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to lpastrana@cbs.com.

 

Lauren Pastrana

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