Therapist urges parents to watch for signs of bullying in school

Therapist urges parents to watch for signs of bullying in school

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools students are headed back to the classrooms Monday.

A new school year can be stressful for kids, especially if they are dealing with things like bullying.

"I have a very strong opinion that healthy, well-developed people don’t hurt others,” said Doctor Angel Gooden, Youth Villages.

Bullying is all too common to any kid nowadays, and it can happen anywhere.

"It can be in sports teams, it can be in clubs, just about anywhere children are going to be... and then, also, a huge presence of it can be on the internet,” said Gooden.

With school starting back up, Dr. Angel Gooden, a therapist at Youth Villages in Memphis says there are some common types of bullying to look for in the classroom.

"I would say, you would see physical bullying where people are putting their hands on children. And also, I think emotional-social bullying where they are treating kids as outcasts and just being emotionally mean even though there’s not necessarily a physical contact,” said Gooden.

She says the emotional effects can be hard for kids to overcome. So, there are a few things parents should do.

"I would say, getting to know people in the school and understanding what administration's take is on bullying so they know how to respond and understand what's going on,” said Gooden.

It's also important to establish strong communication with your child.

"So that the child will be ready to open up about it. But also, so that parents can stop and notice what's going on and I think that parents knowing the signs of it is fairly helpful -- change of mood, change of habits, change in sleep patterns,” said Gooden.

Dr. Gooden says there are also several ways she teaches kids to handle bullying.

"I teach them to not give them a reaction but still making sure that they address it and let an adult know and the other person know it's not okay,” said Gooden.

She says giving your child activities to be actively involved in can lessen the effects of bullying and putting them in environments with immediate adult supervision may help prevent it.

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