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October is Bullying Prevention Month

What is Bullying?

Bullying is when someone tries to hurt someone physically or emotionally over and over again.  Bullying can be physical (fighting, pushing, kicking, destroying/taking property, etc.) or verbal (calling names, spreading rumors, etc).  It can be sometimes be more subtle, like repeatedly ignoring and/or leaving someone out on purpose. 

 

Is my Child Being Bullied?

Victims of bullying are often embarrassed or scared to speak out against their bullies.  Being involved with your child's school and regularly talking to your child about their day will help your child be more comfortable telling you when there is a problem.

 

 My Child is Being Bullied: What Can I Do?

DO

  • Tell someone at the school about the problem- this may be your child's teacher, the counselor, or another administrator at the school
  • Listen to your child- it is important to let your child know that his/her feelings are valid and that he/she deserves to be treated better
  • Encourage your child to stay in a group and be around positive activities/people

DON'T

  • Tell your child to "get over it" or place blame on your child.  Often the child is already being told by the bully that it is her/her fault that he/she is being a "baby" for wanting to tell.
  • Ignore the problem.  Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
  • DO NOT tell your child to fight or hit the other child.  Your child will then be considered a bully.

It is good to encourage your child to stand up for themselves, but DO NOT encourage your child to use violence.  This will only get your child in trouble.

 

What if My Child is a Bully?

No one wants to think of their child as a bully, but sometimes it may be your child who is doing the bullying.  This does not mean your child is a bad person, just that he or she needs some help. Here are some things you can do:

  • Talk to your child- find out what the problem is and why they are acting this way.  Are they being bullied by someone else? Do they think this is the only way to make friends? Are they seeing a role model act this way? It may take some time to get to the real reason, so try to be patient
  • Work with the school- when the school disciplines your child, it is because they want to help your child be a better and more successful person.  Talk to your school counselor, teacher or administrator about what you and your child can do to improve the behavior.
  • Stay involved- bullying isn't a one time thing, it is a pattern of continued behavior.  Stay involved with your child to keep up positive behavior and stop aggression as it starts.  Develop clear rules.

Zora Neale Hurston
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

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