Prevention and Wellness

October is Bullying Awareness Month

Greetings! Bullying is always a hot topic. There are three different types of bullying; physical, verbal, and social. Bullying can be done in person or online. Bullying behaviors typically occur over and over. Please encourage your child to open up and start conversations about what they experience at school either as a victim or a witness. Should you have further questions or concerns after reading this newsletter you can reach out to your teen’s school counselor, school social worker, or school psychologist, for further guidance. If needed, you or your teen can contact our anonymous tipline to report any bullying at 815-759-2271.

Signs and Symptoms of Physical and Verbal Bullying

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick of faking an illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Signs of Social Bullying

Leaving someone out on purpose

· Telling other kids not to be friends with someone

· Spreading rumors about someone either in person or online

· Embarrassing someone in public

· Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

How Parents Can Help

· Be Supportive

· Talk with your teen about bullying

· Model tolerance and compassion

· Teach your teen positive conflict resolution skills

· Encourage your teen to stand up for others in a non-aggressive manner

· Speak up if you are concerned about your child being bullied; Talk with school administration, teacher or student service staff member

· Talk with your teen about cyberbullying

Teaching Empathy Decreases Bullying

Empathy, the ability to emotionally connect with another person can be an skill that can come easily for some and not so easy for others. Having empathy for others, can improve school performance and lessen bullying behaviors. Below are some tips on how to encourage and teach your child(ren) empathic skills. There are two great videos you can watch with your teen and have a discussion on empathy and understanding.

  1. Make sure your child's emotional needs are met.
  2. Ensure they can identify and share their own feelings.
  3. Encourage them to explore other people's perspectives.
  4. Teach them to come to common ground with others.
  5. Encourage teens to imagine how someone else feels.
  6. Talk with them about how their behavior impacts others.

Brené Brown on Empathy
The Present - OFFICIAL

Contriubutions made by

Maura has been an employee for McHenry High School District 156 for 12 years. This is her second year in the position of Prevention and Wellness Coordinator. Previously she was a School Social Worker at West Campus in McHenry for 10 years.