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Helping children navigate the muddy waters of adolescent angst

The phone rings mid-day and it’s your son or daughter’s school. It’s not the nurse or the teacher. It’s the principal calling. And she’s calling because of bullying.

Whether your child is the target, or the wrong-doer, it’s a call no parent wants to receive, and never an easy subject to handle.

“Part of the problem now is that any mean behavior (such as mere teasing and trading insults) can get mistaken as bullying,” says Mary Ellen Young, a bully consultant, co-founder of Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence and former member of the District 58 Downers Grove Grade School board. “We have muddied the waters by labeling everything as bullying and reacting to even minor offenses in big ways.”

Legally, Illinois defines bullying any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student that has or can be reasonably predicted to make a student fear bodily harm; detrimentally affect the student’s physical or mental health; or  interfere with academic performance or ability to participate or benefit from school services and activities.

To read the full story, pick up the latest issue of Suburban Life Magazine.

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