Mental Health America of Porter County is joining our community in supporting National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Bullying is aggressive behavior. A young person is targeted by one or more youths with repeated negative actions such as name-calling, making faces, obscene gesturing, malicious teasing, threats, rumors, hitting, kicking, pushing, and choking to intentionally cause discomfort or injury. Bullies, if not stopped, can progress to more serious, antisocial behavior. Incidents of school violence show that bullying can have tragic consequences for individuals, families, schools, and entire communities. Make no mistake; bullying is a form of violence that shouldn’t be tolerated.
Take Steps to Stop It
- Start early: Parent/child talks are critical. Teach kids to respect others before they start school and continue to talk about this topic on an ongoing basis.
- Teach your children how to be assertive: Encourage your children to express their feelings clearly, say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, stand up for themselves without fighting, and walk away in dangerous situations. Bullies are less likely to intimidate children who are confident and resourceful.
- Stop bullying when you see it: Adults who remain silent when children are bullying others give permission to the behavior and thereby encourage it.
- Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior: Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn’t stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to.
- Communicate clear policies and consequences: Bullying is less likely in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping bullying behaviors. Send out a clear message at your school that bullying will have negative consequences.
- Team up: Work with your PTA to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. Help them develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments.
Mental Health America of Porter County offers programs that can assist individuals and families. Building Up Our Youth (BUOY) is dedicated to teaching adults how to instill positive self-esteem and security in youth. For more information about BUOY or our other services please contact Christine Pirlot, Program Director at 462-6267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.