Bullying and the Brain

Believe it or not, Canada is falling seriously behind other countries in supporting children and youth with healthy relationships. Research points to the fact that many problems children experience with bullying have to do with troubled relationships. I think we need to stop and think about what our children really need to learn, both in and out of school. Bullying and cyberbullying are growing problems in our community and are having a profound impact on our kids. Have a look at this article on the importance of teaching our children “relationship literacy” and how this can help to prevent bullying.

New research is showing that chronic bullying, teasing and harassment can damage our kid’s brains:

Scientists have already shown that children who are bullied are more likely to have cognitive deficits. This means they don’t do as well in school and score lower on tests. Mental health problems, like depression are more common in children who have been bullied. Also, in animal studies, high levels of stress, like chronic bullying, have been shown to kill brain cells.

We as adults need to look for, listen and respond to bullying. If bulling is occurring to your child, have a look at this pamphlet by the Ministry of Education. Bullying is a relationship problem. We need to create positive, supportive environments and promote healthy relationships. One way to create healthy relationships amongst our kids is to teach them social skills. One of the best things you can do as a parent is to set rules about behaviour. Let your children know how they’re supposed to behave. If they don’t behave properly, then tell them how you would like them to act. Whenever your child does behave well in a social situation, praise them.

We are role models for our children and must lead by example by showing respect and empathy for others. If you show respect and empathy for others, your children are more likely to do so, too. Remember, children who learn social skills are more likely to be involved in positive relationships.

Bullying is not just a school problem, it is everyone’s problem. Bullying occurs in all places where children live, learn and play. Parents as well as schools and community organizations have a key role to play in addressing bullying.

About this guest blogger:
Andrea Seaver, has worked as a Public Health Nurse in the school years program for over 20 years.  She is an accredited Triple P practitioner with Halton Region and has a special focus on bullying education in Halton schools that helps to support children in the elementary school setting.

Share your experience:
Do you have any concerns or questions about bullying and your child? For more tips and hints about your child’s health and anything else related to parenting, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback!
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This entry was posted in Bullying, Mental Health, Parenting, School, School-aged Children, Special Needs, Teens and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bullying and the Brain

  1. Pingback: Bullying Prevention. Parents “YOU” are vital! | HaltonParents

  2. Pingback: Bullying in Preschool? Say it isn’t so! | HaltonParents

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