May 10, 2019
Are you worried that your child might be a victim of bullying at school or in the neighborhood?
According to StompOutBullying and Empowering Parents, warning signs of bullying include not only physical signs like bruises or missing or damaged clothing and belongings, but also changes in your child’s behavior. Does your child seem sad or depressed all the time, spending more time alone? Is your child not hanging out with the same friends anymore? Feigning sickness to miss school or refusing to take the school bus are other possible red flags.
In the United States, about 28 percent of students in middle school and high school are bullied. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has defined four types of bullying: physical, verbal, threats to damage reputation or relationships, and damage to property. And these include both direct bullying, and less direct forms like badmouthing your child behind his or her back, and cyberbullying.
While some light-hearted teasing can be expected among kids, KidsHealth explains that “when teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop."
Here are some ways you can help your child if you suspect he or she is being bullied: (Sources: Stopbullying.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, KidsHealth, StompOutBullying.org and EmpoweringParents.com)
• Have open conversations about bullying with your child on how to recognize it and what steps to take to address it
• Together create a safe plan of action, from telling the bully to stop in a clear manner to walking away and getting help from an adult
• If the bullying is happening at school, find a teacher or administrator who will be your child’s ally and safe haven
• To build up self-confidence, encourage your child to join a new activity that he or she enjoys and excels at
• Individual counseling for your child or family counseling can also help all of you navigate these difficult times
Never ignore the signs of bullying or tell your child to “tough it out.” It is not the victim’s fault. Bullying can cause serious physical and psychological damage to your child. Find more helpful resources here.