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Teen Bullying

Bullying is a serious public health issue that affects many teens. In fact, the effects of bullying can impact victims even after they enter adulthood. As a parent, you should be able to recognize if your child is being bullied or if she is bullying someone else. You should also know how you can help! Make sure to listen to your child, especially if she complains about bullying behaviors.

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, or is bullying others, you will need to get involved. You can make a difference in your child’s life and help put a stop to bullying.

Bullying - Prevention and Intervention << back to top
What Parents Can Do
Parents are an essential element in the school's effort to create a safe and orderly learning environment.

Parents can do the following:
Set standards of behavior, limits, and clear expectations for your child, in and out of school.
Provide a secure attachment for your child. Make sure they know you support them and are there for them.
Be as positive as possible with your child. The goal for parents is to provide five positive comments for every negative one directed at a child.
Monitor your own behavior and aggression. Demonstrate behavior at home between adults that is not bullying or aggressive. Children copy parents' behaviors-good and bad.
Provide appropriate models of conflict resolution.
Exhibit empathetic behavior (behavior that shows you trying to understand how the other person feels).
Offer suggestions/advice for dealing with problematic peers.
Encourage children who are bystanders to bullying to act appropriately.
Be concerned and responsive regardless of whether your child is the reported bully or the victim. Offer support, but do not encourage dependence.
Become involved in your child's school life by reviewing homework, meeting teachers, reading with your child, and attending school functions.
Build a network of other adults, parents, and students to discuss school safety and other issues.
Give your child the social skills they need to navigate through their own school experience.
Teach your child to have respect for differences.
Explain the difference between an assertive (self-confident, firm) and an aggressive (violent, belligerent, hostile) response.
Be an advocate for bullying prevention in scout groups, athletic programs, and other youth activities.
Share stories about your own childhood experiences with bullying.

My Teen/Child Is Being Bullied << back to top
The behavior of parents will differ depending on whether their child/teen is being bullied or is bullying. Children/Teens who are bullied tend to be scared and fragile and should never be blamed for the incident. All children/teens deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy.

If a child/teen has been a victim of a bully, parents should follow these guidelines:
Find out in detail what happened. Listen to the child and do not interrupt until he or she is finished.
Contact the child's teacher, school counselor, and school administrator to alert them to the incident and ask for their cooperation.
Avoid blaming anyone, especially the victim.
Do not encourage the child to be aggressive or strike back.
Discuss assertive alternatives to responding to bullies and role-play responses with the child
Be prepared to contact an attorney if the bullying continues and the school does not take appropriate action for the child.
Encourage the school to work collaboratively with you and others to take the bullying seriously and investigate the facts.
Keep a log book (with the child if possible) describing the incidents of harassment or bullying, when they occurred, who took part, and what was said and done. This can strengthen a parent's case when contacting the school principal and/or teachers.

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My Teen/Child Is a Bully << back to top
Parents of teens/children who bully must work closely with the school to resolve the situation. While it is difficult for most parents to hear something negative about their child's behavior, it is very important in a bullying situation for the parents to act immediately.Teens/Children who are aggressive towards their peers are at high risk for other antisocial behaviors such as criminality and misuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.

Steps parents can take include the following actions:

Find out in detail why your child is bullying.
Listen. It is difficult to listen to criticism of your child, but remember, the child's well-being is at stake.
Spend more quality time getting to know your child's friends and what he or she does with them. Children need to feel that their parents listen to them.
Do not blame others for your child's behavior.
Point out that bullying behavior is not acceptable in the family.
Try to model appropriate methods for handling issues of power or the inequality of power.
Specify the consequences if the bullying persists.
Teach and role-play appropriate behavior.
Follow up with the teacher and administration and track improvements.
Try to channel the aggressive behavior toward something positive, such as sports, where teammates need to play by the rules. Explore other talents the child may have and help him or her develop them.

Treating Teen/Child Who are Being Bullied << back to top
Mental health professionals use a variety of therapeutic approaches with children depending on the age of the child and the nature of the problem(s). At times, a combination of different psychotherapeutic approaches may be helpful.

CBT (Cognitive-behavioral Therapy) is helpful to use when working with children who have been involved in bullying or any other victimization because many suffer from anxiety and/or depression. In practice, the mental health professional can work with the child to teach him or her to recognize the way they talk to themselves before and/or after an incident. Thoughts affect how a child will feel, which then will determine ways a child will act. In a bullying situation, a child who is bullied may be telling him/herself, "I am not good enough to be treated well" or "My feelings are not as important as others are." These thoughts can often lead to lower self-esteem and depression.

Treating Teen/Child Who are Bullying << back to top
Although it has not been tested for bullying, Multisystemic Therapy (MST) which focuses on changing how youth function in their environment has been found to be effective for serious conduct disorders. MST is designed to promote positive social behavior while decreasing problematic behavior. The therapist focuses on identifying family strengths to improve parenting skills and support networks. MST is part of larger family therapy techniques that involve the entire family in the therapeutic process, including grandparents, caregivers, and siblings.

Teen Drug Rehab Centers can guide you in the right direction in choosing the right therapy and treatment, rather it be an inpatient/residential or outpatient treatment from major problems such as drug and alcohol addictions to minor mental health problems. Give us a call at 1-888-757-6237 and we will help identify the most suitable treatment program for your child.

Content compiled above is intended for informational use only and it does not endorse or recommend services available in this site.

Information throughout this site is courtesy of:
Bullying Overview
Bullying Prevention and Intervention
My Teen/Child is Being Bullied
My Teen/Child Is a Bully
Treating Teen/Child Who are Being Bullied
Treating Teen/Child Who are Bullying
News Teen/Child Bullying
Bullying. Get Help Now!
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