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Schools have had limited success in reducing bullying, according to research at the University of California, Los Angeles. Scientists analyzed more than 140 studies fromm the United States, Australia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. They examined whether anti-bullying programs are reducing the number of bullying incidents on school grounds. While the more comprehensive programs have been the most effective in reducing bullying, they require substantial commitment and school resources to be successful which many schools do not have in place. The research showed that children with social connections-even just one friend-are at less risk of suffering severe symptoms after being bullied.

Therefore, it is important to discuss bullying with our children and give them tools to deal with bullies such as immediately going to an adult. Open lines of communication so your child feels comfortable talking with you about this form of abuse. It is crucial to help our children, especially those with disabilities, build a network of friends/mentors that protect them from bullies and provide a support system in the event of dealing with bullies. We must give our children the self-confidence to stand up for themselves and get their needs met so they are not a target for bullies. Parents need to take action with the school district if they feel their child is being bullied.

To read the full article: Annual Review of Psychology, January.

Susie Bean Team