January 28, 2013

Bullying: Is Your Child a Victim?

One of the most talked about issues in the media today, regarding children, is bullying. We all grew up with “bullies” and had to deal with our fair share of teasing, but today the kids are taking bullying to a whole new level. Sadly, a lot of kids aren’t asking for help, leaving it up to the parents to catch the problem while there is still time. So, the question you should be asking yourself is (if you have school-age children) is whether or not your child is a victim of bullying.
This is actually a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis because bullying can start at any time. Below are a few signs to look for that may indicate that your child is a victim of bullying.
1.      Claims to be sick a lot. If your child is consistently complaining about not feeling well and trying to stay home from school, then there may some bullying going on at school. A lot of kids will find ways to stay home from school if they are being picked on by someone because they can’t be bullied when they are at home. Also keep in mind that if your child is under a lot of stress, which can be caused by bullying, he/she may be experiencing an increased number of headaches – so watch for that too.

2.      Missing or damaged personal items. While all kids lose things from time to time, children who are being bullied will lose or damage items on a regular basis. At first you may think your child is just being irresponsible, but if it continues to happen consistently, there may be more to it than carelessness.

3.      A change in eating habits. We all know that as kids grow, their eating habits change. However, when a child is being bullied, his/her eating habits will probably change suddenly. Your child may suddenly start eating a lot more than normal, but may also start skipping meals and claiming not to be hungry.

4.      Change in behavior/attitude. Kids who are being bullied often have a marked change in their behavior and/or attitude. It may be that your child is beginning to let his grades slip lower than normal or maybe your child is starting to spend more time alone and disengaged from the rest of the family. Any noticeable change in your child’s behavior and/or attitude should be monitored and if it doesn’t improve within a short amount of time, you should be concerned.
You may have young children in school (preK, Kindergarten, 1st grade, etc.) and think that bullying isn’t anything you have to worry about until your kids are older, but the fact is that bullying can start at any age. If you notice any of the signs listed above, or a combination of these signs, go to the school and talk to your child’s teachers. The earlier you can catch bullying, the better off your child will be!