Does your child wake up every morning with a fear of attending school? Or does your child come home from school in a poor mood, maybe with unexplained bruises and scrapes? Or does your child often ‘lose’ or ‘forget’ his or her belongings at school? Have you ever considered that maybe these incidents are actually not so coincidental?
Your child may be a victim of bullying.
According to research, 15 to 25- percent of students in America suffer as a regular victim of bullying. Bullying can be defined as any type of aggressive behavior that is intentionally inflicted upon someone, presenting an unbalanced amount of power of strength. This can include, but is certainly not limited to: hitting, punching, teasing, name-calling and intimidation, which may involve gestures, social exclusion, sending inappropriate messages/pictures via a cell phone or the internet. Such bullying is known to occur at school, home or in any setting that lacks adult supervision.
While bullying is usually hard to detect, there are warning signs that may be visible to onlookers. Those include: unexplained damaged clothing, missing belongings, injuries, a limited number of involved friends, fearfulness of school and activities, lack of excel in academic work, complaints of regular illnesses, sadness, moody behaviors, disrupted sleep, and change in appetite, anxiety and low self-esteem. Bullying can seriously affect the mental and physical health of a child, along with their academic work. Over time, it may lead to depression and a low sense of self-esteem.
What can you do if you suspect your child is a victim of bullying?
Talk with your child.
He or she is the only person who really knows what may or may not be occurring in their life. Schedule a time to meet with your child’s school staff and explain your concerns to them. Never give up if you feel your child is being victimized. Most importantly, listen to your child! He or she may be sending overt signals through their actions and words of what might be happening in their life.
When you recognize a child is being bullied, stop it immediately. Refer to rules and regulations regarding such bullying. Support the child who has become a victim of bullying and encourage them to not be afraid. Encourage the idea that the bully attempt to make a mends in an appropriate manner. Always make an effort to follow-up with the child who has been bullied, as well as the child who has become the bully. Resort to punishment against bullying when necessary to ensure the safety of each child. The best practice for stopping bullying is to change the climate around the children. Make the idea known that bullying is not okay.
For more information, contact the Campbell County Children’s Center at (423)562-4190. To report child abuse or neglect, call 1-877-237-0004.