Bullying has been going on for a very long time. Peer pressure can be endless and children can feel like they have nowhere to turn ,but to end their lives as two boys did recently. Schools pretty much tell bullies to stop it., teachers have so much on their plate as it is, it's hard to keep track of the bullying that takes place outside of their classrooms. So who's responsibility is it? Parents who speak up and address the issue with school administrators have to be advocates for the children nonstop to get the school's attention and then they risk being labeled trouble-makers. So, what should be happening? As a mental health professional, I believe anti-bullying education has to start at a very young age. Bullies need early counseling at the first signs of aggressive behavior and support groups need to be set-up in schools for all children to attend whether they are bullied, do the bullying, or are not bullied. Children should not be afraid or threatened if they speak up as victims or observers of bullying. So, I'm bringing the issue to my local Marriage and Family Therapy organization, CAMFT, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to address and begin going to schools and speak with parents. Parents need to check in with their children on a daily basis about their day at school and not be satisfied when their child responds that their day was "OK." Bullying needs to be talked about at home, at the dinner table and whenever possible. Book smart is one thing...emotional smart is just as necessary.
Marriage and Family Therapy Intern #52087
Supervisor Gwen Lotery, MFT #37140
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