River Spring Counseling
Bullying is Not a Fact of Life!
Q & A: What are the Warning Signs?
Your child ...
Comes home with torn, dirty, or wet clothes or damaged books, or "loses" things without being able to give a proper explanation of what has happened.
Has bruises, injuries, cuts, and scratches and cannot give a credible explanation for what caused them.
Does not bring classmates home and rarely spends time with classmates after school.
Seems afraid of unwilling to go to school in the morning.
Chooses an "illogical" route to and from school.
Loses interest in school and gets poorer grades.
Seems unhappy, downhearted, depressed, or has mood swings with sudden outbursts of irritation or anger.
Often has little appetite, headaches, or stomach aches.
Sleeps restlessly with nightmares and possibly cries in his/her sleep.
Steals or asks for extra money from members of the family (to soften up the bullies).
Q & A: How do I find out if my child is being bullied?
You need to have frequent conversations with your child or adolescent to ask about what happens at school. Establishing a relationship helps you keep the lines of communication open and gives you a sense of context for what your child or adolescent experiences day to day.
If you get a not from your child's school saying that he or she is being bullied by the other students, take it seriously. The problem is however, that you cannot always be sure the school/teachers will discover that your child is having this sort of problem or that they realize how serious a situation is. neither can you expect that your child will necessarily talk about problems of this nature to you. There can be various reasons for this. Your child may feel that being bullied is a personal defeat, or he or she may have received threats from the bullies. The child may have tried before to tell an adult about the bullying and may not have been given any real help. He or she may be afraid that involving adults will make the bullying even worse. Therefore, you must be particularly sensitive to signs and changes in your child.
It is important that you do not try to explain away your child's problems and hope that they will go away by themselves. It has been clearly documented that bullying can negatively impact a child's formative years as well as later adult life. Research suggests that systematic bullying can leave deep psychological scars which can lead to depressive attitudes and a tendency toward negative self-image, even years after the bullying has ended.
Your child -
Is aggressive, nasty, spiteful, and generally in opposition.
Has a marked need to dominate or manipulate others.
Seems to like to insult, push around, or tease other children.
Q & A: How do I find out if my child is bullying?
It can be difficult to discover and acknowledge that your own child is a bully. Bullying other students is obviously not something a child will talk about at home. But, if several of the points described under "Who Bullies?" fit your child, you should take this seriously and look more closely into the matter.
Bullying can be seen as a part of a general pattern of anti-social and rule-breaking behavior. Children who are bullies during their school years are at a much higher risk later becoming involved in crime, misuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. If your child is bullying others, it is important to break this pattern, not just for the sake of the victim, but also for your own child's sake.
What Can Parents Do?
PARENTS AND SCHOOLS SHOULD TAKE "BULLYING" SERIOUSLY, INVESTIGATE THE FACTS, AND WORK TOGETHER FOR A HEALTHY SOLUTION.
If you suspect or it is obvious that your child is being bullied by other students and the school has not already informed you of the situation, then it is important that you contact the school immediately. Parents should have the right to expect the school to take this seriously and to investigate the facts in the case. This will usually involve talks with you and your child, with the suspected bully or bullies and with other students in the class. Also, if appropriate, talks with a number of other parents (for example, the parents of the bullies) who may have important information to contribute.
Once the facts are on the table, a detailed plan must be drawn up of how you and the school together can put an end to the bullying.