18.8% of Colorado kids have been bullied at school according to the Colorado Healthy Kids Survey and the Colorado Legacy Foundation (CLF). CLF research shows that kids who are bullied experience a variety of symptoms including poor school attendance, low grades and low motivation to pursue higher education. More serious consequences can include drug use, depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
Parents and their kids both play an important role in standing up to bullying. Experts at Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHC) suggest that parents offer support if their child discloses they are being bullied. This is important as many children are hesitant to reveal they are being bullied for fear of being blamed for the bullying. Stopbullying.gov recommends that parents avoid placing blame on their child and provide a safe environment for the child to discuss what has been happening. Parents asking their children what they believe may be helpful to alleviate the bullying can also be beneficial. Parents may ask that school officials intervene. School counselors and staff can help children create plans to deal with bullying. Schools can also help mediate between the child and the bully. Parents should also be aware that the Colorado State Legislature passed a Bullying Prevention Law in 2011. This allows legal action to be taken in cases of bullying.
Stopbullying.gov also recommends some specific actions for a child who is being bullied:
- “Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice.”
- “If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.”
- “Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.”
- “Stay away from places where bullying happens.”
- “Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.”
Finally, a child that has been a victim of bullying may benefit from speaking to a mental health professional about their experience.
Bethany is available to work with children and families dealing with bullying. Whether your child has been bullied, or is the bully, Bethany can help. You can contact Bethany by phone at 720-722-0527 or send her an email to get started.