October Is National Bullying Prevention Month

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October is National Bullying Awareness & Prevention Month. As we continue to fight for stability in the lives of abused and neglected children, this is a time to reflect on the emotional and physical abuse that comes not from an abusive home, but from other children.

There are many risk factors that contribute to children being the bully or victim:

 

Bullies are likely to: Victims are likely to:
suffer symptoms of depression suffer symptoms of depression
experience suicidal ideation experience suicidal ideation
suffer from psychiatric problems suffer from psychiatric problems
suffer from eating disorders suffer from eating disorders
engage in substance abuse suffer feelings of loneliness
engage in fighting behaviors have low self-esteem
engage in criminal misconduct suffer from anxiety
engage in academic misconduct be less popular than other children
have parents who use punitive forms of discipline spend a lot of time alone
have less responsive and less supportive parents have suffered child abuse
come from harsh home environments have less responsive and less supportive parents
have poor parent/child communication come from harsh home environments
lack adult role models have parents who allow few opportunities to control social circumstances
have suffered child abuse have problems with school bonding
have lower school bonding have greater rates of absenteeism
have lower academic achievement have problems with school adjustment
have lower school adjustment experience physical health problems
have authoritarian parents

 

Notice that many of the factors are the same. Children in the welfare system are far more likely to have these risk factors, making them more likely to be bullied, or be the bully.

Much of the advice given to children to avoid or stop bullying is centered on community awareness. Advice like:

  • Know which students to avoid on the bus
  • Find a safe route to and from school
  • Know which adults to report bullying to
  • Always stay with a group of friends

This advice, while helpful for most children, might not be for children in the welfare system. These children often move schools and/or foster homes frequently; they don’t have a sense of stability or know who to turn to for help.

Isolation only adds to bullying as it makes them appear vulnerable.

This month, and every month we should take the time to learn the signs of bullying and know how to identify when a child is being bullied, or being the bully. Help us create a safe environment for all children to grow up in.

To learn more about CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County and how we work to provide children in the welfare system secure homes in which to grow up, explore our website and discover how you can become a CASA Advocate.

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