What to do if your child is being bullied

Published 7:59pm Thursday, March 20, 2014

This week I would like to discuss what parents need to do if their child is being bullied.
There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying– either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.
It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others.
These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.

Signs a child is being bullied: Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to a bullying problem include:
• Unexplainable injuries.
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry.
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness.
• Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.
• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school.
• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations.
• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem.
•Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide.
If you know or suspect your child is being bullied you should contact the school principal right away.
You can also contact the school resource officer assigned to your child’s school. Keep in mind that your primary goal should be to get the school’s cooperation to get the bullying to stop.
Knowing your own child is being victimized can evoke strong feelings, but you’ll get much more cooperation from school personnel if you can stick to the facts without becoming overly emotional.
While you may want assurance that everyone involved is punished severely, try to focus on putting an end to the bullying.
Being alert and observant is critical since victims are often reluctant to report bullying.
Many victims don’t report incidences to their parents or teachers because they’re embarrassed or humiliated by the bullying. Talk with your kids every day about how things are going at school.
If you suspect they are
being bullied, act, don’t wait.

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