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Bullying can turn everyday events — such as bus rides, lunch hours, and online interactions — into nightmare situations for kids and teens. Nearly every child deals with the effects of bullying in some way, whether they’re a victim, the bully, or a witness.

However, parents can impact the current bullying crisis — but the work begins at home. Experts recommend communicating openly with your children about what bullying is, its long-term effects, and how they can stop bullying when they see it happening.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying constantly evolves. It can take the form of physical tormenting, verbal harassment, or purposefully causing psychological or emotional harm. Bullying can occur in-person and online through text messages, social media outlets, and more. Any time exchange is unkind, hurtful, and continuous, it crosses the line from teasing to bullying.

The Lasting Effects of Bullying

The effects of bullying take place immediately and can last a lifetime. Short-term effects may include poor performance in school, isolation, sleep issues, depression, anxiety, and stomachaches.

The long-term consequences of bullying can be life-changing. Experiencing bullying as a child or teen can lead to chronic anxiety, chronic depression, difficulty maintaining positive social relationships, and more.

Bullied children may resist attending or skip school to avoid physical harm, harassment, and more. This may lead to lower grades, fewer educational qualifications, and difficulty finding gainful employment.

How Parents Can Help Prevent Bullying

Parents and guardians are essential to preventing and ending bullying. Prevention begins with open communication among parents and children. The following are a few simple steps to take to help prevent bullying.

  • Communicate openly: Parents should check in with their kids daily and listen carefully to what they say. Parents must make an effort to know about their children’s school, their friends, and any concerns they bring up while talking. 
  • Lead by example: Parents are role models for children, and kids often mimic the actions of their parents. Remember to treat others with respect and kindness, and your kids will likely follow suit. 
  • Help them understand: Carefully explain what bullying is and the point when teasing becomes bullying. Teach children that bullying is never acceptable and how they can safely stand up to bullies. Provide a list of school officials and other responsible adults they can contact for help.

Parents who discuss bullying at home and model positive, constructive behavior can help prevent bullying and reduce the number of children who deal with its long-term effects. Learn more about how to aid your bullied child with the accompanying resource.

AUTHOR BIO: Kids Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of children. The organization partners with a number of well-known nonprofits serving children and teens who are confronted with physical, mental, and emotional challenges to provide the care they need. 

This infographic was created by Kids Car Donations, a car donation organization

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