NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Bullying can occur any time of the year — not just during the school year. And now that school is out, that doesn’t stop some bullies from picking on others. Recess is usually monitored by a teacher or an adult while school is in session, but in the summer, it’s up to parents to look out for their kids.

Amy Juelson, a pediatrician at Mid Dakota Clinic Pediatrics, explained what behaviors to look out for.

“Kids argue and fight and make poor behavior decisions, and that’s normal. Bullying is more pathologic. It is when one person picks on another person over and over and over,” said Juelson.

That’s what parents should be looking for — repetitive bullying behavior.

If a parent isn’t around during the time of the incident, they can ask questions to help the child open up about being bullied or if they have witnessed someone else being constantly picked on.

Some kids may open up to questions like: “How was your day today?” “Did anybody get picked on today?” or “Has anyone been sending mean texts?” Other children may become anxious and feel too embarrassed to talk about the situation.

Juelson said that if a parent does notice their child is being bullied, the best thing to do is show them love. She explained how to help them through the situation so it doesn’t occur again.

“Next time when you’re around the bully, if they try to start anything, look the bully in the eye, and stand up tall, and be calm. If they say something you don’t like, tell them. Say, ‘I don’t like what you said’ or ask them, ‘why did you say that?'” Juelson said.

Juelson pointed out that bullying can happen anywhere, at any time. Sometimes, it’s easier for a bully to be unseen and cyberbully others. If this is the case, Juelson gave some suggestions for the child.

“Show the offending messages to a trusted adult, block the people that are messaging them these horrible messages. And just stop looking at them. Stop going to those social pages. Stop going to the chat rooms that are posting the horrible messages because it’s just not healthy to do that,” said Juelson.

There are long-term effects when it comes to those who have been bullied. These can include substance abuse, health complications and may even experience depression or other mental health challenges.
It’s important to stay engaged not only in the summer but throughout the year to ensure their safety.

Sometimes, a parent can be on the other side of things, and perhaps it’s your child being the bully. Juelson said that if you notice your child is the antagonist, talk to them about the situation so that they know what they’re doing is causing harm to others.