WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The National Bullying Prevention Center reports that more than one out of every five students who is bullied reports it, but that means many bullied children keep silent.
“They are adept at hiding bullying-related behaviors and the unequal ‘shadow’ power dynamics that can exist among children,” said Dr. Miriam Hirschstein, Committee for Children. “Because of the secrecy, adults underestimate the seriousness and extent of bullying at their schools.”
Sometimes it takes some detective work for parents to find the root of the problems, because acting out can mistakenly be attributed to the child’s hormones.
Dr. (Capt.) Matthew Baker, psychiatrist, 88th Medical Operations Squadron, discussed the importance of parents and caregivers having good communication and regular dialogue with their children, because when those channels are open, a parent can readily see certain changes in their child.
“It is important that a parent intervene early and not to dismiss a child’s concerns as ‘normal teasing’,” he said. “Brushing it off can make the problem worse and make them less likely to approach you with other important things in the future.”
The bottom line is to communicate regularly with your children, Baker said.
“Talk to them on a daily basis about their activities, friends and associates. Don’t dismiss changes in behavior. If need be, contact their teachers and friends when necessary,” he said.
Parents can contact the 88th Medical Operations Squadron’s Mental Health Clinic to make an appointment for their child at 937-257-6877, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For a mental health emergency, seek assistance from the nearest ER or behavioral center.