Pediatric talk on bullying and social isolation

One of the problems —psychological and occasionally physical — that pediatric experts have to deal with is bullying and social isolation. The biggest problem that parents and teachers face when trying to combat these problems is that they almost always take place when parents and teachers are somewhere else, which leaves them in the position of trying to implement a top-down solution on children who resist authority mainly as a way to prove they can. Fortunately, some young people are finding their own, nonviolent solutions.

The children who are most vulnerable to bullying are those who are isolated from their peers. One girl, Natalie Hampton, suffered social isolation at her old school which began with simply not being allowed to sit with other students and escalated into repeated physical assaults. (This was in a supposedly upscale private school, which shows that places you might think of as safe from this sort of thing aren’t.) She finally went to another school, where someone immediately welcomed her. This led to a circle of friends within which she was safe for the first time in years.

Paying it forward

She wasn’t satisfied with this, however. She couldn’t help but notice, looking around her school cafeteria, how many other students were in the same position she’d started out in at the other student. The problem is that publicly asking to sit with other students is an extremely difficult thing to do. She started by inviting other people to her table. Later on, she developed an app called “Sit With Us,” a free lunch-planning app which allows students to act as ambassadors and host open lunches at their own cafeteria tables, so that other students with the app can find lunch tables where they already know they will be welcome. This app has spread to seven different countries.

What you can do

If you were bullied or had trouble being accepted in school, you should talk openly and honestly with your children about it, if you think they may be having the same problems. You should also be willing to talk about it if your children aren’t having the same problems, or if you suspect they are the cause of those problems in others… or if you think they have the potential to help others.

A pediatric clinic in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a pediatric clinic conveniently located west of Charlotte. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you need a pediatric specialist, call today.