October is National Bullying Awareness Month. What is bullying? StopBullying.com says: “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”
Social media and technology are making it easier for teens to bullying one another from behind a keyboard, so it’s no wonder that parents and educators are concerned. When it feels like bullying is everywhere, how can we support our teens?
Teen Bullying Facts
According to an article from Science Daily, “Researchers estimate that as many as 75% of children and adolescents report experiencing some sort of peer victimization, with 10 to 15% experiencing more severe and prolonged victimization.”
This means that three out of four children experience some type of bullying. This can seem like an overwhelming statistic. Teens who are experiencing bullying may exhibit signs like depression, feeling physically sick, or wanting to avoid school and social activities. You may also notice that they are no longer hanging out with the same group of friends or they seem evasive when you bring up old friends.
What Can Parents Do?
Many teens who are being bullied feel ashamed and don’t want to share what is happening. This is why a key factor in supporting your child is opening up lines of communication. Bullying can happen when your teen is in their bedroom just as easily as it can in the school hallways. By creating a space where your teen can come and share the “small” stuff, they will feel more comfortable coming to you when the “big” stuff happens.
They need to know that you are on their side and that the bullies taunts are not a reflection of who they really are. Building your child’s self confidence can help them become resilient in the face of teen bullying. Encourage your teen by giving them opportunities to explore their interests and strength.