As many as 1 in 4 US students have been bullied at school, and many more have experienced cyberbullying, according to stopbullying.org. While it seems that awareness of the bullying problem has increased in recent years, the country still has […]
" />

Bullying prevention starts with parents

by Jessa McClure on November 6, 2015

in Parenting

bullyAs many as 1 in 4 US students have been bullied at school, and many more have experienced cyberbullying, according to stopbullying.org. While it seems that awareness of the bullying problem has increased in recent years, the country still has a long way to go to prevent this serious issue.

Baylor Scott & White – Round Rock psychotherapist, Kelly McCabe, MA, LPC-S, LMFT-S said although it seems that bullying is on the decrease, statistics can sometimes be deceiving.

“Overall, there’s been a decrease [in bullying in schools], but there’s still high rates of bullying,” McCabe said. “Instead of being more physical acts of bullying, we’re seeing more bullying through social media and other forms of cyberbullying.”

The institution of legislation in federally-funded public schools has helped to prevent some of these cases of bullying. The push to put these policies in place started in the 1990s when legislators were concerned about the increase of physical violence in urban areas.

“When these legislations were first put into place there was a sharp decrease in numbers, but what the research shows is that even though there was a sharp decrease immediately, there’s been increases and decreases ever since.”

McCabe said that studies on the instances of bullying don’t show the whole picture. But, there have been improvements in bullying in states that have instituted three key components, which were outlined in a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

In the study, that examined the anti-bullying policies and bullying in 25 states, researchers found that states that had legislation that included the statement of the scope of bullying, a description of prohibited behaviors, and requirements for districts to develop and implement local policies, were consistently associated with decreased odds of having instances of bullying and cyberbullying.

“Texas has all three of these components in their legislation,” McCabe said. “And if parents want to know more about what legislation is in place, they can go to the State Policies and Laws section of stopbullying.gov.”

But the psychotherapist said even though the presence of legislation cuts down on the instances of bullying, prevention is key. And that prevention starts at home.

“The best thing [parents] can do is keep the lines of communication open,” she said. “They can teach their children about establishing healthy relational skills and how to care for friendships and other relationships. Teach them about having compassion for each other.”

McCabe also suggests using children’s inclinations to use social media as a way to open up dialogue with them.

“Instead of cutting down on access to social media sites, find new ways to access those media and social sites together,” she said.

One of the biggest reasons that cyberbullying goes unreported is that kids are afraid of losing access to their games and social media, McCabe said.

“Tell your children that you want to help them be responsible with these new platforms,” she said. “Teach them that it’s okay to deal with difficult conversations and difficult relationships, and that you’re going to be there for them and you’re not going to limit their access as a result.”

McCabe said websites like bystanderrevolution.org are a great place to start when parents want to begin a conversation about bullying.

“They can sit down with their kids and watch videos uploaded from celebrities, teachers and everyday people who have dealt with bullying or who are speaking out against it.”

Previous post:

Next post: