Veterans Day is a day to honor the service of all US veterans. It’s also a time to recognize the families of those veterans, including the millions of US children and youth with parents who serve. Research has shown that military-connected youth may be at an increased risk for bullying.
Military-Connected Youth and Bullying Prevention
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, in 2018 there were 1.7 million children and youth with parents who serve in the active duty military, and selected Reserve forces. Military-connected children and youth often experience stress related to the demands of military life, including parental deployment and multiple school transitions. A study showed that two or more parental deployments was a predictor for depressive symptoms for youth in military families, which can put them at increased risk for being bullied.
Many military families move frequently, which can impact military-connected youth’s relationships with their peers and teachers. Teachers and other school staff need to be aware of the unique stressors and challenges that military-connected youth face, and help ensure prevention supports are in place. Schools can teach activities and lessons about bullying, implement formal evidence-based programs, and train staff on how to prevent bullying.
Educators and school administrators play a large role in preventing bullying, but they can’t do it alone. Engaging parents and youth can help all students feel safer and parents worry less, while teachers and staff can focus on their work and develop more solutions. Ways to engage parents and youth include having students take leadership roles to promote inclusion and respect, including communicating about bullying prevention with their peers. Parents can contribute to a positive school environment by participating in school functions and actively engaging in parent teacher associations.
Educators, teachers, parents and caregivers all play an important role in children’s learning and bullying prevention. How? By helping kids understand bullying, keeping the lines of communication open, and encouraging kids to engage in activities they love. A safe and supportive school climate can help prevent bullying.
Resources and Tips for Military-Connected Families and Educators
- CDC’s A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors provides strategies for state and community activities to prevent youth violence and its consequences.
- Military One Source provides information related to caring for military connected youth.
- StopBullying.gov helps parents and caregivers learn about cyberbullying tactics so they can spot the warning signs for cyberbullying and step in to address it.
- The Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package from The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) may help schools adopt trauma-informed approaches to create safe and supportive learning environments.
- SAMHSA’s Activity Book on how to make time to talk with your children about bullying.
- CDC’s COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit provides age-group specific resources to support parents, caregivers, and other youth-serving adults in recognizing children and young people’s social, emotional, and mental health challenges, and help to ensure their well-being.
- StopBullying.gov helps parents and caregivers learn about warning signs of bullying so they can spot the warning signs for cyberbullying and step in to address it.