It can be appalling and hurtful to learn that your child has gotten in trouble for picking on other kids or been pigeon-holed a bully. As hard as it may be to hear this news, it’s important to deal with it right away. Whether the bullying is physical or verbal, if it’s not stopped it can lead to more hostile antisocial behavior and inhibit with your child’s success in school and ability to form and keep friendships.

Some parents are uncertain where to begin to help protect their children from bullying and violence. Others may not know if their children are victims, bystanders or even perpetrators of harmful behaviors.

Bullying can have harmful and long-lasting consequences for children. Besides the physical effects of bullying, children may experience emotional and mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, that can lead to substance abuse and decreased performance in school. Unlike in-person bullying, cyberbullying can reach a victim anywhere, at any moment. It can cause profound harm, as it can quickly reach a wide audience and leave a permanent footprint online for all involved.

Your child has the right to a safe, nurturing school environment that respects their dignity. The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all children have the right to an education, and protection from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. Bullying is no exception. Educate your kids about bullying, so that your children can identify a bully easily, whether it is happening to them or someone else.

The more you talk to your children about bullying, the more comfortable they will be telling you if they see or experience it.

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