It’s no secret that bullying creates lasting emotional and self-esteem problems. Bullying is intentional and aggressive behavior meant to belittle peers and maintain power over them in social circles. It’s a huge deal that can be stopped but you have to check in with your kids. Forms of bullying include physical, verbal, and emotional antagonizing. Now with advancements in technology a new form of bullying has arisen- cyberbullying. Cyberbullying uses online harassment and threats to scare and harm kids who seem non-threatening or “different” from the accepted status quo.
You may be wondering what you can do to help your child who is getting bullied. There are various resources available to parents and their children to help you recognize the signs. It’s best to check with your local community and your child’s school for the options available specifically for you. However, here is a good place to start if you’re unsure of how you can help. Remember, not all children who are bullied will show signs, but it’s good to have an idea of what characteristics your child may exhibit if indeed, bullying is the case.
- Your child comes home with unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches.
- Your child makes up excuses to not go to school or requests early pickups.
- Your child suddenly begins to do poorly in school.
- Your child complains of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pains.
- Your child seems sad or depressed when coming home from school.
- Your child’s items are missing or destroyed.
- Your child seems to have lost friends or changed social circles.
- Your child exhibits self-destructive behavior such as suicidal thoughts or running away.
- Your child has trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, or appears anxious.
Try having regular conversations with your child to figure out what’s going on. A child may not always disclose that he or she is being bullied for many reasons including not wanting to seem weak, fear of backlash from the bully, or feeling isolated as if no one cares. When talking with your child a clear path of communication assures him or her that there is safety in letting someone know.
Bullying at school can emotionally and physically affect your child’s ability to learn. Discuss school prevention and intervention methods with your child’s teachers and principal. Hopefully the school will deem it important that strict policies are in place to handle cases of bullying, and that those methods actively involve parents.
If after speaking to your child and the school staff, you still feel as though your child is being bullied, assess your child’s environment. You may have to check your child’s online social profiles, text messages, emails or other personal forms of communication since the cases in cyber-bullying have increased.
On the reverse side, it is important to keep the school environment safe for everyone. Your child may be a bully if he or she:
- Gets into physical and verbal fights with others
- Becomes increasingly aggressive
- Gets into trouble at school often
- Comes home with other’s belongings or money
- Is extremely competitive and worries about their reputation or popularity
Remember the best way to help your child and others is to explore the resources available to you. Bullying not only affects one child, but the whole community because it makes schools unsafe and creates division amongst peers. For more information about bullying you can visit stopbullying.gov.