Will going back to school be a positive or negative experience for your child? While many children are excited to see friends again, school can be anxiety-provoking for other children. Bullying is one possible cause of back-to-school anxiety. Across the nation, over 70% of children and school staff express observing bullying in their schools. Furthermore, about 28% of children in grades 6th through 12th have experienced bullying.
Bullying comes in various forms, which include:
• Physical: hitting, stealing, pushing/tripping, breaking someone’s things
• Verbal: Threats, hurtful comments, teasing
• Social: excluding others, spreading rumors, telling others not to be friends with someone
• Cyber: mean texts, prank calls, rude comments on the internet or phones
Bullying can lead to negative effects on kids who are bullied, kids who bully others, and those who witness bullying.
• Kids who are bullied often experience depression, anxiety, and decreased academic achievement
o These children are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or attempts
• Kids who bully others are more likely to be physically aggressive towards people and objects or drop out of school
o These children are at increased risk for alcohol and drug use in adolescence and adults
• Children who witness bullying may be more likely to develop anxiety and depression
What can you do for your children?
• Be informed about bullying and bullying prevention
• Be aware of warning signs for negative effects of bullying:
o Change in mood, such as sadness or irritability
o Becoming more socially isolated
o Increased physical/medical complaints, such as stomach aches
o Avoidance of school; increased absences or lateness
o Changes in appetite
o Changes in sleep, often sleeping less
o Not engaging in usual enjoyable activities
o Decreased concentration
o Lower grades
• Speak with your child about bullying
• Reach out to resources in your community for help
o Organizations, such as Intercommunity Action, Inc. can help by providing therapeutic services for your child.
Blog author: Melanie Levitt