Bullying is described as an aggressive behavior that is intentional and it generally involves imbalance of both power and strength. Most generally this type of behavior is repeated over time and involves a variety of different forms.
1. Physical -This type of bullying involves any type of hitting or punching that results in harm of any kind. This is the most common form of bullying and can lead to the most serious of injuries.
2. Verbal-Any type of teasing or name calling is considered verbal bullying. This is the most damaging to a child’s self esteem because they feel less confident in themselves.
3. Emotional-This involves any type of intimidation using gestures or any type of social exclusion.
4. Cyberbullying-This is the newest form of bullying in the school system today and it involves any type of insults placed through phone calls or on the internet.
Bullying is a serious issue facing our country today and is one of the leading causes of teen suicide today. This is especially true for those that are cyberbullied through places such as Facebook and Myspace. Most generally children and teens, especially boys, will not tell their parents that they are a victim of a bully but there are some warning signs that you as a parent can watch for.
These warning signs include the following:
1. Torn, damaged, or missing clothing or belongings-This usually signals that your child is a victim of physical bullying.
2. Unexplained cuts and bruises-Another sign that your child could possibly be physically bullied.
3. Your child seems to have very few friends or isolates themselves. Any of the types of bullying above could be the result of this.
4. If your child is afraid of going to school; walking to and from school; or riding the bus-big warning signs your child may be the victim of a bully.
5. If they have seem to have lost interest in school or have suddenly begun to do poorly in school.
6. Your child is sad, moody, teary, or depressed after school.
7. Complains of frequent headaches or other types of physical ailments.
8. Loss of appetite.
9. Seem anxious and seems to have a low self esteem.
If you notice any of the above warning signs in your child it does not necessarily mean that they are being bullied but you should take some immediate action. Take the time to talk to both your child and their teachers.
However, when you talk to your child take it slowly; start out the conversation by saying that you are concerned and would like to help. Do not pressure them to talk right away because although you are their safe zone they still may not feel that safe. Ask them a variety of subtle questions to get the conversation started. Ask about their life at school and about their friends. Gather as much information as possible during this conversation.
Once you have talked to your child and gathered as much information as you can, next talk to their teachers. Call the school and set up times and talk to your child’s teacher about the various concerns that you have about your child. Ask them if they have noticed anyone bothering your child during school. If you feel that you are not getting enough information from the teacher move on to the school administration.
After you have gathered all the information that you need and you have confirmed that your child is being bullied take immediate action; do not wait. Bullying is a serious epidemic facing our country today and it needs to be stopped. Let’s send a message to the bullies of the school that their attitudes towards children will no longer be tolerated.