A strong support system, community-based environment can help to prevent bullying - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

A strong support system, community-based environment can help to prevent bullying

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Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2018 12:00 am

The start of school can mean a new year of learning, growth and fun activities for students. While the restful days of summer are behind us, the school year offers many opportunities as well. Unfortunately, the new school year can also mean new opportunities for a dreadful experience for many students—bullying.

Perhaps you experienced bullying while growing up. It is not fun, appropriate or constructive in any way. This edition of “Raising Healthy Minds” focuses on providing support and preventing bullying from happening to your kids.

Bullying as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a form of youthful violence where any unwanted aggressive behavior is displayed by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners, that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying can come in different forms including physical, psychological and social. The types of behaviors for each of the categories are the following:

• Physical- hitting, spitting, shoving

• Emotional- teasing, name-calling, threatening communication, inappropriate sexual comments

• Social- intentional exclusion, spreading rumors or public embarrassment

According to stopbullying.gov, one in five high schools students in the United States reported being bullied while on school grounds in 2017. Bullying is a common and frequent occurrence. It is also frequent. Twenty-two percent of middle schools, 15 percent of high schools and 8 percent of primary schools report bullying happening at least once a week.

With these significant figures, it is likely that your child may come across bullying either as a victim or bystander. Cyberbullying is also a major concern, and can add to serious issues at home and in school due to the viral nature of digital media. Thankfully, there are measures that can be taken to help stop bullying from happening whether it’s online or in person.

Maintaining a supportive family environment can help kids to become resilient and feel comfortable telling trusted adults about bullying incidences. Second, remember that early intervention on the part of school officials and parents can pay dividends by stopping the bullying before it worsens.

Look out for the signs, children who are being bullied may display depression, want to avoid going to school and become withdrawn. Pay close attention to any behavior changes in your children and to the content they are viewing online, as they can be subtle and kids can hide things well.

Stay vigilant by monitoring media devices. Remain in close contact with teachers and be involved in the school culture. Prevention is a joint effort between parents and school staff.

If your child has been bullied or is a bully, treatment is available through schools and behavioral health organizations. The best course of treatment can be determined and may include counseling, forms of therapy through art or music and medication for psychiatric challenges.

Many bullies were once bullied themselves or are experiencing severe distress at home or problems in school. With proper intervention and high levels of community involvement, bullying can come to a halt.

For more information on bullying, visit www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention. Local resources for prevention and treatment can be found at www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/fap.

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