Ways to protect your kids from bullies at school

Posted at 7:22 AM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-19 10:00:44-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Kids across West Michigan are headed or will soon be headed back to the classroom. For some kids it's an exciting time of year but for others they are nervous about being bullied.

Dr. Nicole Beurkens PhD, CNS, Licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Nutrition Specialist joined us in studio with some tips, and signs to look out for to protect your kid:

Bullying Basics

  • Can be verbal, social, or physical
  • Typically occurs when adults aren’t present
  • 1 in every 3 students reports being bullied at school
  • 70% of youth say they have seen bullying at school
  • 15% of high schoolers report being cyberbullied in the past year
  • Only 20-30% of kids tell adults about bullying
  • Children involved in bullying are at greater risk of mental health issues

Bullying Warning Signs

  • Missing or damaged belongings
  • Increased complaints of stomach or headaches
  • Appetite changes, sleep problems, or nightmares
  • Worsening school performance
  • Avoidance of certain people or places
  • Increased isolation, anxiety, or self-esteem problems

Strategies to Prevent and Address Bullying

  • Teach children about bullying and talk about it regularly
  • Tell children who they can go to for help inside and outside school
  • Address reports of bullying quickly and consistently – don’t ignore it
  • Practice what to say and do in the moment (“Stop”, Walk, and Tell)
  • Ask kids about their day – good things and bad things
  • Encourage participation in activities they enjoy with supportive peers
  • Model kind and respectful communication and behavior