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Is your child being bullied?

By Kelly Herdich, contributing writer
Published On: Jul 23 2011 08:21:21 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 16 2013 09:07:50 AM CDT
bully

ŠiStockphoto.com/mandygobehear

The word bully is one parents dread, and it doesn't matter whether their child is on the giving or the receiving end of the problem.

Bullies are a common problem in schools today. How you handle bullying can have a large impact on this and future situations, and set the stage for what is and is not appropriate behavior for your child. If you've recently found that your child is being bullied or is a bully, get involved, get active, and help curb bullying behavior before it goes too far.

Address the issue of bullying with your child: This isn't something parents can handle on their own -- you must involve your child in the decision to end the bullying cycle.

If your child is being bullied, parents need to understand how and to what extent the bullying is taking place. FamilyLobby.com lists multiple types of bullying including digital bullying, physical bullying and emotional bullying. The effects of each are equally harmful and powerful. Determine what type of bullying is taking place and proceed from there.

If your child is the bully, he or she may not be willing to admit to his or her misbehavior. However, don't brush the behavior off with a quick, "Don't do it again." It's important for parents of a bully to figure out what's going on so they can change their child's behavior.

Speak with school or sports officials, not other parents: Though we'd like to believe that all parents are understanding of the issue of bullying, that isn't always the case.

Bullying can be a learned behavior. Going directly to a child's parents might not always be the best course of action. PBSKids.org notes the importance of addressing bullying with teachers, principals or coaches, depending on where the bullying is taking place. Professionals who deal with children on a regular basis should have training in addressing issues such as bullying; letting them take the reins here is a good idea. This is true for parents of the bullied and the bully. If you suspect that your child is a bully, talk to his teacher or coach to get a clearer picture of the situation. This can help you as you address the issue with your child.

Stay active and involved: After you've addressed the issue of bullying with your child and involved adults, don't assume that the issue is closed. Stay active and involved in the bullying situation so that you can quickly intervene again should the situation get out of hand.

Stay in contact with teachers and coaches and expect that they will do the same with you. Talk to your child regularly about school, sports and extracurricular activities.

If the bullying continues, it may be necessary to expand the participating parties, especially because bullying behavior has been shown to have disastrous consequences for some children. An outside professional or a group meeting may become necessary if parental and school involvement does not result in a satisfactory conclusion.

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