What Parents Can Do To Help Middle Schoolers With Bullying

Bismarck - You may have heard about bullying on and off middle school campuses. But what should you do if it happens to your child? 
 
Walking middle school halls,  bullying isn't always easy to catch.
 
When kids come home, it can be even harder
 
"You might see changes in appetite, changes in sleep, maybe nightmares. You might see kids become more reluctant to go to school," Marie Schaaf Gallagher, licensed psychologist says.  
 
More than 40 percent of middle school students have experienced bullying in school.
 
A psychologist says the physical symptoms of bullying like headaches and upset stomachs, are linked to something more. 
 
"Because, behind bullying often times is low self-esteem, or depression or anxiety, or often times, the bully is a victim of someone else bullying too," Gallagher says.
 
This can lead to confusion about who is the victim.
 
But in school, teachers are frequently the first line of defense.
 
Teachers, like Jon Breitbach.
 
 "[We find out], what's going on, why they are addressing other students in that way. And we see if there is a deeper underlying issue," Jon Breitbach, 8th-grade science teacher from Simle Middle School, says.
 
Gallagher says if your child tells you they are being bullied, there is a correct way to handle it.
 
"Some parents might tell their kiddo to suck it up or blow it off, let it go. That's not helpful, so the best way to approach your child is to just ask them to tell you what's going on," Gallagher, says.
Gallagher says when talking to your child it is important to listen.Get specific about who, what, why and how the bullying is happening.
 
Reach out to your child's school about the bullying.And work at home on positive ways your child can respond to the bullying.
 
Kids don't always leave the effects of bullying at their middle school doors.  
 
For the bully and the victim, the negative consequences can be long-term.
 
"Longstanding depression, anxiety social interaction difficulties that can lead to work troubles, that can lead to relationship troubles. Work and relationship troubles can affect finances and it can affect a good majority of our daily life."
 
The Bismarck Police Youth Bureau says they get calls daily in regards to bullying in schools.
 
Bureau workers gave 46 anti-bullying talks to more than 1000 Bismarck students last year.
 
 
 

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