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Bullying, a problem with a solution

There are many wonderful things about living on the Northshore in St Tammany Parish and one of the best is the high quality of education.  However, no matter where your school is located: Slidell, or Mandeville, Louisiana or Mississippi, or whether your school is public or private, bullying affects us all. Bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents as well as a serious concern for public health. Despite the fact that many Americans dismiss school bullying as a rite of childhood passage, bullying can have long lasting psychological effects for victims as well as the bullies themselves.

The evolution of technology has aided in the prevalence of this aggressive behavior. While bullying was once thought to be categorized as a verbal tease or physical intimidation during school hours, it is now occurring more often after school hours through the use of technology. Children are falling victim to electronic bullying with the use of cell phones, online chats, email and social networking sites such as Facebook. This is referred to as “cyber bullying”. No matter the form, bullying can only cause negative ramifications for all parties involved.

THE FACTS

  • As many as half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years
  • An estimated 14% of children in grades 6-10 have been a victim of cyber bullying within the last two months
  • Bullying can affect a child’s mental and physical health. Bullying behavior can lead to poor social-emotional adjustment, depression, anxiety, psychotic symptoms and even suicidal type thinking
  • Bullies identified by the age of 8 are six times more likely to be convicted of a crime by age 24

Schools that have a lack of supervision during classroom breaks and do not consistently enforce anti-bullying rules are more likely to have bullying incidents. Studies show that when communities and schools implement anti-bullying programs there is an overall decrease in bullying. There must be a collective community effort to raise awareness and prevent bullying among children and adolescents.

                                                     THE SOLUTION

  • A promotion of public awareness about the nature, impact and prevention of bullying
  • Improve school safety by implementing prevention and intervention bullying programs
  • The creation of safe reporting systems that allow students to report without any fears of retaliation
  • Provide intervention in and out of the school setting. Counselors can provide support and protection to students that are being bullied as well as counseling for perpetrators about the harm inflicted, respect, empathy and sensitivity to others

Bullying is an aggressive behavior that has the ability to affect all children and adolescents. Whether a child is the victim of bullying or the actual perpetrator, Child Psychiatrists and therapists try to find the best modes of treatment for this behavior. Parents play a vital role in this treatment because they must first discuss this issue with their health care provider. Sometimes there are underlying disorders other than anger that a child is suffering with that can contribute to bullying such as ADHD, depression, anxiety difficulties or learning problems.

If your child is  subjected to bullying or is having difficulty controlling aggressive behavior around other children then you may ask your child’s teacher, school counselor, or the school’s front office for help.  If the problem persists or you otherwise would like to speak with a behavioral health specialist at Acadian Care then please call us for additional information.  Acadian Care currently has master’s level therapists, 2 nurse practitioners and 2 child and adolescent psychiatrists ready to help.

If you are interested in learning more about the facts of bullying as well as treatment and prevention methods please visit the following websites:

http://www.stopbullying.gov/index.html

(We very much hope this information has been of some use; please remember it is for information only. Also please remember that nothing in this article is meant to be given as any type of medical or psychiatric advice as it is for informational purposes only.  Nor is this article intended to substitute in any way for professional medical or child psychiatrist advice, diagnosis, decision making, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician, psychiatrist, child psychiatrist,or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical or psychiatric condition. We strongly advise that you never disregard professional medical or psychiatric advice or delay in seeking advise because of anything you have read on the Acadian Care website. Thank you.  Acadian Care LLC is a private mental health clinic located in Slidell and Mandeville Louisiana.)