Health Matters: What To Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied

School is back in full swing, and your child is surrounded by other students all day.

Maybe even bullies.

We see it in movies all the time, and unfortunately it happens in real life.

A licensed psychologist from Essentia Health tells me that bullying can start as early as in preschool.

Bullying-it’s something that will always exist.

“All of a sudden fearing going to school or starting to get kind of anxious about school. Nightmares is another thing.,” says Megan Spencer, Essentia Health Psychologist.

These are signs your child may be being bullied at school.

“In the past it used to be far more localized, meaning it was during school years, a certain number of months per year and only during the school year, school day,” Spencer says.

As social media options widen, so do the ways bullies attack.

“So bullying has changed in that it’s 24 hours a day and seven days a week,all year long.,” explains Spencer.

The best thing teachers and parents can do is make sure victims are aware that they won’t be in trouble for telling them what’s going on.

“There’s no real magic in terms of what to do. But the really important thing is that not only the bystander but the victim feels like they have a safe place to talk about it. And if they do talk about it. Something is going to be done,” says Spencer.

Dr. Spencer recommends that children tell the bully to stop, and if they don’t walk away.

“The social aspect is also really important because what bullying does is it takes away those positive social experiences that we need from an early age. To develop into having positive feelings about interacting socially with others and making new friends. So it’s kind of a mirage of of things it ends up affecting,” Spencer says,

Dr. Spencer says you can even practice scenarios with your child in case they are approached by a bully.

She says to never tell them to fight back.

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