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Bully Prevention Resources for Military Families

Compliments of: Yolanda R. Arrington  |  Health.mil

 

Being the child of military parents has its rewards and its challenges. Military K-12 Partners estimates there are about 1.5 million children of military parents enrolled in U.S. schools. Many will have to move to new states, find new schools and make new friends at least twice during their formative years. These changes can be difficult for children to process, and some may find it difficult to make new friends as they move from place to place. Some may even face bullying from other children who see them as different.

Marci Hertz, a health scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention, says when children are perceived by other kids as different in any way, they can be bullied. “In general, kids who are more likely to be bullied are kids who have trouble with social skills and picking up on social cues,” says Hertz. “Some research suggests children who are already depressed may be more likely to be bullied,” Hertz adds.

Matthew Gladden, a behavioral scientist, also with the CDC’s Violence Prevention Division, says “a lot of people think bullying is physical, but they don’t think about the verbal aggression and cyberbullying where rumors can be spread quickly and to a lot of people.” Gladden says bullying is marked by three elements: aggression, repetition and a power imbalance. “The person who’s being targeted feels like they can’t stop this behavior toward them, and there’s some sense of power or control, either by size, groups, or the number of kids,” says Gladden.

Hertz says if you are being bullied, find a trusted adult who can handle the situation in a confidential manner that will prevent retaliation. Hertz says the “zero tolerance” policies that many schools have adopted have shown to be ineffective because the perpetrators tend to be unsupervised during their suspensions, which could lead to more violent behavior off the school’s grounds.

Bystanders are also a critical part of preventing bullying. Hertz says when “other kids stick up for the person being victimized, some evidence has shown that’s really effective.” Bystanders can show the bully that “it’s not the cool thing to bully in this school.”

A key part of stopping bullying is to document what’s happening. Write down when the bullying occurred and what the responses and reactions were. This can help kids when they report the bullying to an authority.

Parents also play an important role in preventing bullying. Hertz says “it’s really important what parents are role modeling in the home. Don’t convey that it’s okay to be mean and that bullying is just a rite of passage.” Children will imitate what they see so it’s “important that parents talk to and communicate with their kids. Specifically ask your kids if they are being bullied.” Also, be aware of your child’s social circles. Know their friends, both the face-to-face ones and online acquaintances.

Gladden reminds parents that addressing bullying is a “community and school effort. It’s not only the responsibility of the victim.” Gladden says parents should become familiar with the bullying policies and laws of their local communities. Military parents should be aware that these laws can vary greatly from state to state.

Hertz points out recent stories of “bullycide,” or suicides apparently caused by bullying, which he says is “not a reasonable or normal way to respond to bullying. Kids who are victims of bullying who do try to hurt themselves also have a lot of other things going on.” Kids who are bullied should know they are not alone, but they must reach out and get help.

The Department of Health and Human Services has launched a Stop Bullying website to connect bullying victims with help. There are also vast online resources for military children to meet other kids who are experiencing the same challenges in adjusting to their new lives. Military Kids Connect provides an online community where children can meet, share their feelings on discussion boards and play games. Military OneSource is a one-stop shop for resources, blogs and counseling options for military families. In our digital, fast-moving world, some children are being targeted right from their computer screens or their smartphones. Visit Military Youth on the Move for social media safety tips.

 

Additional resources for children:

View parts one and two of our bully-prevention series.

Health Care [News]  |  healthy living   bullies   mental health   abuse   resources   military family   military children

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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