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Back to school, back to bullies . . .

There are many different types of bullying that kids of all ages might encounter while in school. Teasing, stealing lunch money, spreading rumors, hitting and name calling are all different kinds of bullying. They can make a child's school year seem long and terrifying; trying to find new ways to avoid the bully or make him/her stop bothering them while neglecting school work.

One of the hardest parts about bullies is that often times the parents are not aware of the problem at school due to the child feeling embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. This is a serious issue that should be addressed by parents, teachers, peers and all school administration. When a child is bullied it can leave them with deep emotional scars and a feeling of shame.

What are some signs that bullying is taking place?

Maybe your child is anxious while talking about their school day, want you to drive them instead of taking a bus to school, their appetite decreases or maybe they aren't enjoying activities within school that they used to.

So what can you do about it?

Reassure your child that you could never be ashamed of them and how proud of them you really are. Encourage them to always talk things out with you, even before a problem with bullying starts. Let them know that many people get bullied in school and they are not alone; maybe share an old story of when you were teased as a kid to help them feel better. Does that child have an older sibling or cousin they would feel more comfortable talking to? Sometimes discussing these issues with someone other than a parent can help the child feel better and get some good advice on how to deal with bullies.

What can your child do?

Make sure they know that confronting bullies with aggression isn't always a good idea; this can escalate to a fight or more intense bullying. Teach them how to talk away from these situations and surround themselves with trusted adults and peers. Maybe the bully wants an item your child brings to school like lunch money, a cell phone or a cool watch. In these cases, have your child pack a lunch, leave their cell at home and have an old watch for school. Once the temptation is gone, the bully should stop.

Don't let bullies ruin your child's school year, there is too much great stuff going on that they could miss out on!


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