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As the 2014-2015 school year begins, kids are starting off fresh with new opportunities to develop friendships and social networks. This is a special time when life-long connections can form. It can also be an emotionally challenging time. In addition to getting to know teachers and getting familiar with school assignments, parents must be vigilant to prevent childhood bullying.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones. Research has shown that child life experiences, media violence, fear of becoming a victim and parenting styles are reasons why children might become bullies. Some of the most important things parents can do to help prevent bullying include: • Teaching your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help • Encouraging your child to make friends with other children • Teaching your child how to say in a firm voice “I don’t like what you are doing” or “Please do NOT talk to me like that.” • Getting to know the school staff by attending any available orientations and taking an opportunity to tour the school. • Alerting school officials to problems and working with them on solutions Make time to listen and talk with your kids. Studies done by the SEARCH Institute reveal that family dinner time talks help children and youth with assets and skills such as feelings of safety and security, positive role modeling, physical health, optimism, coping with stress, empowerment, creativity and empathy. Social and emotional learning can be difficult for kids and requires family support at every step. In some situations kids can develop fears that they will be forced to fight, that the bullying will get worse if they talk about it or that parents or teachers won’t believe them. Reassure kids that they are not alone and praise them for being brave enough to talk about difficult situations. Stay in touch with their teachers and seek out professional help if needed. Parents play a vital role in prevention of childhood bullying. Let’s do our part in helping children succeed. To learn more about tips to prevent bullying visit: • StopBullying.gov
• American Academy of Pediatrics (2013): [Back to school tips](www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx#sthash.EoRHuflN.pdf) • [Nemours Foundation Website](http://www.nemours.org/patientfamily/khlibrary/articles/21590.html)
To learn more about local emotional health support for children and families:
• Emergence Health Network: (915) 779-1800 • NAMI El Paso at: 915-534-5476 • Project Launch El Paso: (915) 533-3132 • Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center (915) 915-544-8484
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