Talk to Your Kids about What Happened at School

By Dr. Renee Clauselle

On March 10, the White House hosted a Conference on Bullying Prevention in which students, parents, educators and community leaders discussed ways to combat this problem which affects 13 million students in the U.S. — roughly one-third of the school-age population — are victims of bullying.

President Obama spoke on how sometimes it is difficult to know what is happening at their children’s school. They even mention that, when they ask their own daughter Sasha what happened at school today, she typically replies, “Nothing.”

Parents need to train their children to give more specific answers. Ask your children specific questions about their day. “Who did you play with at recess?” “Who did you sit next to at lunch?” “What happened on the bus today?” When asking about your child’s day, target these three areas (recess, lunch, school bus).

If your child is anxious about something happening at school, or on the bus, don’t take it lightly. Make sure to address it, though appropriately. If your child’s anxiety is not treated properly, it can turn into a full-blown phobia. If your child tells you that he/she has been bullied, be sure to contact the school district to meet with the teacher, principal and/or administrator.

Remember: If it is not written, it did not happen! It is always important to follow up with a phone call with a written letter or an e-mail. Document! Document! Document!

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