What should I know about bullying?


By Rachel Hace - Logan County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences



Rachel L Hance, Logan County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences


As a parent or caregiver, you might feel concern that your child is or may become a target of bullying. How can you know if your child is a victim of bullying? And, if so, what should you do? Before addressing those two questions it is important to have a better understanding of what bullying really means. Bullying refers to a type of unwanted aggressive behavior among school aged kids that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. The behavior is likely to be re-peated, can harm or hurt someone physically and emotionally and can occur in-person or through technology devices, such as cellphones or computers. Bullying behaviors include making threats, spreading rumors, name calling, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Here are some warning signs that a victim of bullying com-monly displays:

  • Sudden lack of interest in school
  • Sudden decreased interest in favorite school activities
  • Wants to go to school with parents or caregivers instead of riding the bus
  • Talks about avoiding certain areas of the school
  • Talks about dropping out of school
  • Has trouble concentrating in class and is easily distracted
  • Appears to be happy on weekends, but unhappy, anxious or tense on Sundays
  • Exhibits sleep issues such as nightmares and insomnia
  • Experiences changes in eating patterns
  • Comes home with unexplained scratches, bruises and torn clothing
  • Experiences frequent illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Becomes moody or angry and starts bullying others, such as siblings, students or children in the neighborhood
  • Loss of respect for authority figures
  • Talks about suicide

If you think your child is being bullied, take in consideration the following suggestions:

  • Stay calm
  • Be aware that your child may feel embarrassed and humiliated
  • Tell your child that no one deserves to be bullied. Explain that bullies seek to harm and con-trol, so your child must not let the bullies know that he or she is hurt by the behavior
  • Don’t tell your child to retaliate. Retaliation frequently makes the bullying worse and persis-tent. Bullies are often more powerful than their victims
  • Don’t tell your child to ignore the bully. Usually, ignoring doesn’t work either
  • Teach your child to be assertive, but not aggressive
  • Find out what happened, who was involved, and when and where it happened, and keep a record of this information
  • Ask for a copy of your district’s anti-bullying policy
  • Report all physical assaults to the school and to police
  • Take pictures of all injuries and hold a ruler next to the injuries to show their sizes. Keep a log of your child’s medical treatment, including counseling and all medical costs
  • Be patient. Some bullying situations take more time to investigate than others
  • Involve your child in discovering solutions to the bullying situation
  • Encourage your child to participate in activities inside and outside school. Involvement in enjoyable activities increases the chances of high-quality friendships

Lookout for signs of depression and anxiety in your child, and do not hesitate to seek professional help

Remember that as a parent or caregiver you are responsible for helping your children deal with situations that might harm their physical, intellectual, or emotional wellbeing.

References:

Beane, A. L. (2003). Helpful fact sheets for parents. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing Inc.

Beane, A. L., & Law, M. (2011). Helping parents of bullied students. ASCD Express, 6, 13. Re-trieved from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol6/613-beane.aspx

Stopbullying.gov (n. d.). What is bullying. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/index.html

Rachel L Hance, Logan County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences
http://newsdemocratleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Hance-2010.jpgRachel L Hance, Logan County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

By Rachel Hace

Logan County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

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