GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — October is National Bullying Prevention Month — a time to bring attention to bullying and promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
Doctor Adelle Cadieux, pediatric psychologist at Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, said there are several types of bullying: in person, online, relational and prejudicial.
She said cyberbullying is most likely more prevalent than parents may think. It’s good to have a conversation with your kids about what apps they have on their phone and what social media they’re using.
“So that you know what they’re involved in and can help support them in making sure they know how to block bullies, how to stop the bullying if it occurs, but also what to do if the actions they take aren’t working,” explained Cadieux.
Besides checking in with kids, in some situations it may be necessary to reach out to other adults.
“Sometimes it is important to reach out to like, the school, to maybe the coaches or other adults that might be around where that bullying might also be occurring so that you can have allies in helping support your child in protecting themselves and protecting their friends from the bullying,” said Cadieux.
If parents find out their child is bullying others, Cadieux recommends checking in and being a good example.
“We need to help support our kids in being respectful and responsible and acknowledging that it’s OK to have differences. That we don’t have to agree with everybody, we don’t have to have the same thoughts and feelings as everyone. And so modeling that and teaching our kids that it’s important to respect others is a great start,” Cadieux said.
She added that counseling is important on both ends.
“Whether the child is being bullied or they are the bully, counseling can be a very helpful tool to help kids learn how to overcome those situations and not have it go further. Unfortunately, kids that are persistently bullied, a lot of times they’ll experience anxiety, depression and self-harm. And so we want to really help prevent that from happening,” Cadieux said.