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How to talk to your kids about bullying

Cyberbullying (FILE)

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, everyone is affected by bullying. Kids who are bullied can experience depression and anxiety, health complaints and decreased academic achievement. Kids who bully others are more apt to abuse alcohol and drugs, vandalize property and engage in early sexual activity. Even kids who witness bullying are affected, potentially skipping school or having increased mental health problems.

Is your child at risk of being bullied? Generally kids who are bullied demonstrate one or more of these characteristics: perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves, have low self-esteem, are less popular and have few friends and do not get along well with others.

Not all children who are being bullied will exhibit signs. Some things to look out for include: unexplained injuries, frequent headaches or stomach aches, changes in eating habits, difficulty sleeping, declining grades, decreased self-esteem and self-destructive behaviors (including running away from home).

As a parent, you play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help.

Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying. Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes. Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away.

Read more on how to talk to your kids about bullying at here.

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