Bullying behaviors have received a lot of publicity in recent years, and for good reason. There have been laws passed against bullying, which can hold parents, children, and school systems accountable for a child’s aggressive acts. This is motivated by findings that repetitive aggressive actions can cause significant emotional distress, depression, trauma symptoms, and suicidal thoughts. Parents have fears that their child may be a victim or aggressor in a bullying situation and often feel ill-equipped to address the outcomes. However, parents and schools can partner to increase knowledge about bullying and lead prevention efforts in their home and school community.
An important first step in prevention is helping students understand what bullying is. Episcopal Middle School students are taught the acronym RIP to define bullying - unwanted, aggressive behavior that is Repetitive, Intentionally harmful, and involves an imbalance of Power, such as size, age, or social status. Bullying behaviors can take several forms, including:
How can we tell if a child is the victim of bullying? How do we distinguish typical adolescent “moodiness” and a desire for independence from something more serious? Below are some warning signs that your child may be experiencing bullying:
Below are some suggestions for supporting your child as he or she navigates their social world. Remember that while our older children may appear as if they have everything under control and don’t want our support, the truth is that they often are MORE in need as they get older.
friendship retreat, service learning experiences, and class field trips. In our Upper School, student vestry members speak in chapel on topics such as inclusivity and building community. Advisory lessons about choosing kindness, effective communication, and being an upstander continue in high school at a developmentally appropriate level.
Bullying is not a rite of passage and should not be viewed as a normal part of childhood. At Episcopal, we’d like to partner with parents and students to keep our school a safe and healthy community where all are welcome.
has served as a School Counselor at Episcopal since 2001. As the Middle School Counselor, she has a passion for helping pre-adolescents reach their potential, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Alicia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s in Health Sciences- Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.