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ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to bullying.
That’s the message from a local psychologist who says parents need to listen closely to what their kids are telling them.
Approximately 30 percent of youth in the U.S. are estimated to be involved in bullying as a target, a bully, or both. Nearly 90 percent of junior high and high school say they’ve witnessed bullying.
St. Anthony’s Medical Center psychologist Dr. Lori Tagger says parents need to be aware of the warning signs.
“Anything you see where your child starts acting differently is a huge red flag, whether they’re avoiding things or staying in their room,” Tagger says. “Is there a change in how they manage their emotions? Are they flaring or getting angry more? More withdrawn? All of those changes indicate something has changed.”
And if your child says he or she is being bullied, Tagger says do something about it, talk to school administrators and expect them to mediate and manage it.
“It (bullying) is not a natural part of childhood, it isn’t a right of passage,” Tagger says. “It’s a horrible thing that could have long-lasting effects so take it seriously.”