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The University of Alabama

UA Matters: How to Reduce Bullying

Dr. Randy Salekin

Dr. Randy Salekin

Bullying is a serious problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. The University of Alabama’s Dr. Randy Salekin says the science points to several key factors that can help reduce bullying problems for youth, but it helps if parents and students are involved in promoting anti-bullying atmospheres and if parents are attuned to what their children are thinking and feeling.

Salekin says the best science points to these practices to reduce bullying.

  • One should focus on the school climate. Work to promote an atmosphere where students do not tolerate and do not stand by when someone is being bullied. So, focus on the broad group of individuals regarding bullying.
  • Look for warning signs in children (withdrawn, not wanting to talk about things, having to replace “stolen” items that your child “loses”).
  • Keep the conversation going with your children, and spend lots of quality time with them. The more you talk with them and the more you make them feel safe talking with you, the more willing they will be to talk to you. Many parents do not realize they make it difficult for their children to talk with them (this is because often they don’t really want to hear about some issues that stem from adolescent exploration).
  • Don’t interrogate kids, just have a conversation with them and help them problem solve about what to do with a bullying situation while working on climate/ethos.
  • Monitor social media and computer time.
  • Practice “what if” problem-solving scenarios.

Salekin is a professor of clinical child psychology in UA’s department of psychology.uamatters_logo-thumb

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The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.