Bullying Prevention: The Role of Parents, School Staff, and Adults in the Community

bullying preventionMany students, especially older youth don’t tell adults about being bullied while struggling with their mental health in silence. It can be difficult for children who are victims of bullying to speak up due to the inherent power dynamics and strong emotions such as emotions such as shame, fear, and powerlessness. Bullying is common and the facts about bullying in the US are alarming, prompting action needed among adults. Bullying is among the top concerns for parents, especially related to worries about their child struggling with anxiety, depression, and the fear of suicide.

Bullying is “a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.” Bullying can be physical, verbal, or electronic (e.g., through online chats, emails, and social networking sites). Bullying includes threats, behaviors such as physical assault, and intimidation.

If, how, and when an adult responds to reports of a child’s concerns of being bullied communicates a strong message. When adults respond to bullying consistently and promptly, this can help stop bullying behavior over time. Prevention on the spot is key. Let’s look at action steps that parents, school staff, and adults in the community can take together to help promote the physical and emotional well-being of children.

Provide timely and consistent responses.

 

Stopbullying.gov offers specific things to do, in this area along with common mistakes to avoid.

  • Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
  • Separate the kids involved and make sure everyone is safe.
  • Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
  • Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
  • Model respectful behavior when you intervene.

Avoid these common mistakes: Don’t ignore bullying or think kids can work it out without adult help.

  • Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts or force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
  • Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids or talk to the kids involved together.
  • Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.

It is important to note that additional support from emergency responders and medical professionals is needed when there are serious threats of physical injury or hate-motivated violence (e.g. racism, homophobia), there is sexual abuse, serious bodily harm, a weapon is involved, or there are accusations of illegal activities.

Talk about bullying and bullying prevention.

When parents, school staff, and adults in the community talk about bullying and bullying prevention, it raises awareness of the issues and helps to build understanding. The focus on bullying prevention helps promote kind and prosocial behaviors within the school environment such as inclusion and acceptance of all students. Talking about bullying helps communicate that it is OK for children to speak up and that their concerns matter and will be taken seriously.

Work together to build a safe school environment.

Every child has the right to feel safe and supported, and it is the responsibility of adults, including parents, school staff, and adults in the community to ensure physical and emotional safety. Families are encouraged to partner with teachers and schools and work together on strategies to help create safety within the school environment. Those who work with children such as therapists can help coordinate care with school staff and share resources and recommendations.

Create community-wide bullying prevention strategies.

Adults can help support bullying prevention legislation and bullying prevention policies. It is important to spread the word as part of bullying prevention as everyone has a role to play. Having dialogue and sharing information and resources within the greater community helps unite efforts among adults.

When everyone takes action that is timely and consistent, works together to raise awareness, builds a safe school environment, and creates community-wide bullying prevention strategies, the unified efforts make a huge impact on children’s well-being.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

Understanding CARE Coordination

Understanding CARE Coordination

Care coordination is an important aspect of your treatment; understanding this service can help ensure you receive the best care possible.
gaining independence

Gaining Independence and Finding Yourself After Being in an Unhealthy Relationship

It can be hard to adjust to a new norm after relationships end. It can also be tough to cope with the thoughts and feelings that come up after no longer being in a relationship you didn’t think would ever end.
Death Anxiety (Thanatophobia)

Death Anxiety (Thanatophobia)

While fear of death is a common existential fear, some people have intense fears of themselves or a loved one dying. An extreme fear of death or the dying process, known as thanatophobia is considered as a specific fear, or phobia that is under the broader category of anxiety disorders.
Understanding Fear: Questions to Ask Yourself

Understanding Fear: Questions to Ask Yourself

If you are experiencing significant discomfort or find that there are things that you want to do, but are unable to do because of fear, then talking with a mental health specialist is recommended. Fear that becomes persistent can take a toll on both your physical and mental health, so it is important to take preventative measures.
Sexual Violence Prevention

Sexual Violence Prevention

What (or who) do you turn to amid suffering? How about when faced with situations that seem beyond your own control? As strong as you are, you may feel weak or helpless. Adverse childhood experiences, community violence, and sexual violence are just a few of many serious public health problems that impact communities.
The Importance of Learning about Trauma (Psychoeducation) for All Ages

The Importance of Learning about Trauma (Psychoeducation) for All Ages

Psychoeducation can be provided in many forms including printed and web-based materials such as facts sheets, psychoeducational videos, books, and conversations with professionals in the field. Hearing stories from those who have experienced similar events can also be helpful. All these methods help normalize the reactions to traumatic events and can reduce feelings of guilt and shame through sharing of information and common experiences.
Learning How to Love Yourself & Living with Bipolar Disorder

Learning How to Love Yourself & Living with Bipolar Disorder

Did you know that seeking help for your mental health is an act of self-love? While bipolar can significantly impair functioning, many individuals are living with bipolar disorder and thriving!
3 LGBTQ Hotlines You Need To Know

3 LGBTQ Hotlines You Need to Know

Having access to resources to help deescalate emotional distress and manage (or prevent) states of crisis can help empower individuals to take control over their mental health and well-being.
Providing Affirmative Mental Healthcare: 6 Things You Should Know blog cover photo rainbow sky with two hands reaching out

Providing Affirmative Mental Healthcare: 6 Things You Should Know

Healthcare professionals play a necessary role in supporting the LBGTQ+ community, by providing affirmative relationships that don’t perpetuate attitudes of ignorance or discrimination.
3 ways to help children with school anxiety blog cover image school auditorium lecture hall

3 Ways to Help Children with School Anxiety & Somatic Complaints

School refusal and reluctance to go to school due to frequent complaints of aches and pain can be a challenging topic for parents and caregivers to manage.
supporting your gut graphic

Supporting Your Gut “the Second Brain”

If you ever had a “gut feeling” experienced as intuition, “butterflies” feelings of dread, disgust, anticipatory anxiety, or an instinctive urge to respond with action, these are all examples of your brain communicating with your gut.
bullying prevention

Bullying Prevention: The Role of Parents, School Staff, and Adults in the Community

Bullying is among the top concerns for parents, especially related to worries about their child struggling with anxiety, depression, and the fear of suicide.
Talking about women's rights

Talking about Women’s Roles & Rights (Human Rights) in Therapy

It is important to consider the impact of gender and other aspects of identity when exploring discrimination and privilege related to human rights and the emotional, psychological, and social implications on one’s mental health.
Body Appreciation / Body Neutrality

Body Appreciation / Body Neutrality

Reducing body dissatisfaction is an important topic. Oftentimes, one’s self-esteem is tied to physical appearance, with emphasis on body shape and size. How you feel about your body is going to directly impact your thoughts and the choices you make.
Coping with Stress and the Impacts on Eating

Coping with Stress and the Impacts on Eating

We all have our go-to strategies for coping with stress, and some strategies are healthier than others. I’d like to explore each area in detail, and share how certain strategies impact our eating and provide resources for hope.
Consent Before Sexual Activity: 6 Things You Need to Know

Consent Before Sexual Activity: 6 Things You Need to Know

Consent is an agreement of sexual activity, with clear boundaries discussed before, during, and after engaging in sexual behaviors.
Sexual Health Without Stigma or Shame

Sexual Health Without Stigma or Shame

Sexual health is one of many areas that your therapist will ask about in either your first or second session. There are so many areas related to sexual health that come up in therapy, so rest assured that it is OK to talk about it without sitgma or shame.
Self-Esteem Check In

Self-Esteem Check In

Self-esteem is a topic that comes up a lot in therapy, especially around dates that may trigger social comparison and loneliness.Self-esteem is a topic that comes up a lot in therapy, especially around dates that may trigger social comparison and loneliness.
Stress Could Be Breaking Your Heart

Stress Could Be Breaking Your Heart

Our bodies are designed to respond to stress, but chronic and long-term stress can take its toll on physical and mental health.
Finding a Mental Health Therapist

Finding a Mental Health Therapist

For those trying to find a therapist, it is frustrating when you call around, only to find yourself put on a waitlist, with these often being 3-months or longer. Problems don’t wait, and you shouldn’t have to wait either.
How to find inspiration to make positive changes, text over an image of hands making pottery on a pottery wheel

How to Find Inspiration to Make Positive Changes

If you are aware that some things need to change and are ready to do something about it but need some inspiration to get started, keep reading. I’ll be sharing ideas that others have found helpful to inspire motivation to act. These profoundly simple ideas can make a huge difference!
foggy window graphic

5 Ways CARE is Reducing Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

Did you know that in 2022, CARE Counseling supported over 15,000 individuals and families and in 2023 therapists held 175,196 appointments? That is a lot of people helped!
Martin Luther King Jr. graphic

Civil Rights Movement: Remembering MLK and our Nation’s History

Dr. Martin Luther King’s presence is found within our communities, throughout the United States, worldwide. Look around you and you will likely see places memorialized by Dr. King.