Personal Social Development
Note on Bullying
Bullying is a very serious matter. The negative effects of bullying include anxiety, depression, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleeping and eating habits, health complaints, and a decrease in academic achievement. Because harassment, intimidation, and bullying are against the law (RCW 28A.300.285), we have strict consequences for those behaviors at Lakota.
Although the counseling department takes a strong stance against bullying, through the use of classroom guidance lessons and individual counseling, we also recognize that bullying is something your student may come to you about. Here are some resources for you to review before talking to your child about bullying.
- How To Talk About Bullying - www.stopbullying.gov
- Cyber Bullying Resources - www.netsmartz.org
- Lakota letter about cyber-bullying
At this stage of development for middle school, it’s not uncommon for students to change friendship groups frequently. If your child brings a friendship problem to your attention, try to allow them to handle minor issues on their own. Solving problems on their own helps students build good problem-solving skills and resiliency. The next time your child comes to you with a friendship issue, one thing you can do is help them brainstorm a few options of what they can do. Then let them make the decision about what plan of action they will take. Although we like to see students building and utilizing effective problem-solving skills and communication, it’s also important for parents to know when they need to step in. If your child would like to talk with us about building friendship skills or working through a problem, have them make an appointment with the school counselor.
Another common issue that often comes up in middle school is that students aren’t sure how to make friends. After school clubs, community-based groups, and school sports/activities work as great places for students to meet new people. Encourage your child to get more involved and explore their interests when looking for friendships.
It’s not unusual for middle school students to occasionally feel stressed or overwhelmed. Common signs of stress include expression of anger or anxiety, changes in eating and sleeping habits, forgetfulness, feelings of being powerless, irritability, poor concentration, and frequent complaints of feeling ill.
Here are a few things to help your child with stress management:
- Talking it out with a trusted adult – encourage your child to talk to you about what is causing them stress. Being able to talk it out and feel like their worries are acknowledged can make all the difference.
- Prioritizing the workload – the homework and responsibilities of middle school can seem overwhelming. Help your child prioritize what tasks need their immediate attention compared to those that can wait. Often times, bigger assignments can be broken down into smaller tasks that are less overwhelming.
- Time management – with the addition of school work and after-school activities, it’s important for students to learn good time management skills that can not only help them now in middle school but throughout their life. Encourage your student to set out designated times for homework/studying around their other activities.
- Proper nutrition & sleeping habits – it’s important for students to get 8-10 hours of sleep each night and to have a healthy well-balanced diet. Ensuring that your student has access to nutritious food at home and that they have a reasonable bedtime will help your child develop a healthy lifestyle and be better equipped to handle any stress coming their way.
If these techniques don’t seem to be helping your child deal with stress, talk to us so that we can help.