How To Help Your Child Navigate Where Bullying is Common

By Saron Messay

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, during the month a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is held to unite communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention.

Bullying is something that affects everyone, whether you are the target or the one doing the bullying, it is something that impacts the school and peers around. You have to take action and develop a plan that ensures the school climate is enforcing positivity and safety.

Breaking Down Bullying

Bullying can express itself in these ways:

  1. Physical—Using physical actions to hurt, including hitting, pushing, kicking and beating up
  2. Verbal—Using words to hurt, including yelling, name-calling, taunting, insulting and threatening to harm
  3. Social—Using friendships to hurt, including excluding, spreading rumors and turning friends against each other.
  4. Cyberbullying—Using cell phones, social media and online gaming to send and widely share hurtful messages or images.

According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that bullying and school climate are linked to children’s academic achievement, learning and development. For example, children who are bullied:

  • Are more likely to avoid school and more likely to drop out of school.
  • Have lower academic achievement, including lower achievement in math and reading.
  • Have lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness.

Children who bully others:

  • Show higher levels of aggression and impulsivity.
  • Have higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Engage in more delinquent and criminal behavior.

At least one out of every five students report being bullied, research shows that bullying can be significantly reduced through comprehensive, school-wide programs designed to change group norms and improve school climate.

School climate is the overall quality and character of school life, including teaching and learning practices, organizational structures, norms and values, and relationships. National PTA believes that you can inspire everyone at your school to connect for respect, while teaching students to be an up-stander and a friend.

There are many misperceptions that characterize bullying, all of which can lead to minimizing the behavior. There are many ways to support bullying prevention as an individual or with friends and family, and within your school or community. For more information on bullying or how to get involved within your community check out

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