It can be devastating to learn that your child is being bullied at school. Bullying can be painful and embarrassing, and can often even lead to long-term emotional issues for the child or children involved.
But sadly, oftentimes a child won’t make any mention of being bullied at school, possible out of fear or embarrassment. It is for this reason that parents should remain diligent and look for warning signs that a child may be the target of bullying in the classroom or on the playground.
Are you unsure of what warning signs to watch for in your child? Or do you have questions about what bullying truly is? In recognition of October as National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, we have created a short guide on the specifics of bullying. Read through the following to understand the problem and to help put an end to bullying forever.
What Bullying Is, and What Bullying is Not
Most importantly, you should understand what exactly bullying is. Ultimately, bullying depends on two factors; specifically, it must be aggressive behavior that includes an imbalance of power (which could be as a result of popularity in school, access to information, or even physical size or strength), and it must be repetitive. A one-time occurrence, while deserving of attention, isn’t necessarily considered bullying; it must happen more than once, or have the potential to happen more often.
Bullying can be anything from physical violence to verbal assaults, to even making threats. In other cases bullying may involve exclusion from groups in school
What Are the Warning Signs of Bullying?
No two children will respond to bullying in the exact same way; as such, it’s impossible to say exactly how your little one will react to bullying occurring at school. That being said, there are some common warning signs to watch out for to help you determine if your child is the target of bullying. For example, children who are bullied may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping, feel helpless or self-destructive, or even have a sudden loss of appetite. In some cases, a child who is the target of bullying may have unexplained bruises or other injuries, or may be missing books, electronics, or other items of value. Very often a child who is bullied may show a lack of interest in going to school each morning.
On the other hand, there are certain signs that your child may be bullying others. Children who bully others at school may act out in an aggressive manner while at home, may be sent to the principal’s office routinely, or may have friends who bully others. These children may, in some cases, have new possessions without any reasonable explanation.
How Can We Stop Bullying?
Of course, the first step in the prevention of bullying is to notice it. Once you have discovered that your child is being bullied at school, or is bullying others, it’s time to take action.
If your child is bullying others, begin by speaking with your child. In some cases, you may be able to discuss the bullying that’s occurring with your child in order to understand its extent and severity. If you are able to have a rational conversation with your child, you may be able to explain to him or her why this is unacceptable and discuss potential ramifications. If the situation escalates, you may need to reach out to the school to let them know you are aware of the bullying and that you are taking active steps to put an end to it.
If your child is being bullied, he or she may not wish to discuss it with anyone. Here, it may help to speak to school administrators directly to determine the nature of the bullying. This may help alert school personnel to the problem, who can then take action when necessary. If the bullying continues after this step, it may be helpful to learn about your state’s anti-bullying laws to understand your rights as the parent of a bullied student, and what you can do to put an end to the problem.
Bear in mind that your child deserves to attend a school wherein he or she is comfortable and not afraid of others. No child should feel a sense of fear while in the classroom or on the playground; as such, it is imperative that you watch out for these warning signs of bullying and understand what to do if your child is a target.
Let’s Put an End to Bullying
Bullying is incredibly destructive, and it often leads to long-term emotional (and sometimes physical) damage to the targets of the behavior. Don’t let this happen to your child or children; instead, take action this October by learning the signs of bullying and discovering how you can put an end to bullying forever.