WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Having nervous feelings about the start of a new school year is no doubt what many parents and students of you are going through right now.
Unfortunately, bullying can be a part of your son or daughter's school experience. Getting ahead of the problem by noticing the signs of bullying can help in a big way.
Low self-esteem from the effects of bullying can turn for the worse.
According to a 2021 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey shows, 10% of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
WPTV anchor Mike Trim spoke with psychotherapist Mona Nassar, a licensed mental health counselor, about identifying the signs of bullying and how to talk to your child about the issue.
"Create a supportive environment for the child to open up. Really listen and validate their feelings. Help them to know it’s not their fault and gather as much information as you can, as a parent," Nassar said.
First, look for physical signs like unexplained bruises or scratches your child can’t or doesn’t want to explain
Mood swings, depression, and increased anxiety could be other signs along with eating and sleeping habits changing. Perhaps your child is losing items like lunch bag frequently. It’s possible those items are being taken by a bully instead.
The most important thing you can do, according to Nassar, is teach coping strategies.
“Help them to be assertive, help them to set boundaries, help them to communicate with friends and to build friendships. To grow in their resilience, their confidence, and their self-esteem,” said Nassar.
Parents, there is hope is your child is in a situation that doesn’t improve. It’s called the Hope Scholarship. Some are catered specifically for students that were bullied and used the scholarship to attend a different, private school.
53 total were used in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee counties in the 2021-22 school year.