Do you know how to recognize the signs of bullying? Were you bullied as a child? Has your child ever been the victim of bullying? How did you respond?
Perhaps if you were the victim of bullying as a child or young adult, then you know some of the signs to look for. But, if you were fortunate to not experience this type of behavior, here are some signs to look for: Frequent complaints of illnesses that are not warranted, loss of interest in school, unexplained injuries, lack of focus in school, declining grades, mood swings, and lack of appetite are just a few signs parents can look for if they suspect their child is the victim of bullying. Bullying is not an issue to be taken lightly. In recent years bullying has become an epidemic nationwide, where young girls and boys have felt the need to commit suicide to escape the constant torments of fellow classmates.
Many school personnel have received training on bullying and know what to look for. Bullying can take on several forms either direct or indirect, where the latter may be more difficult to detect. When we think of bullying, most people tend to think of someone threatening to beat you up if you don’t give them money or answers to a test, etc. But indirect bullying exists and is prevalent as much if not more so than direct bullying. Indirect bullying tends to be harder to detect where students may be isolated from peers for various reasons or where someone spreads a rumor. Research has found that indirect bullying is typically seen in girls. Have you ever heard your child in particular your daughter, say that she’s been excluded from an activity for several days?
Being different shouldn’t hurt. We encourage you to take the time to speak with your child(ren) about bullying. Together, we can take a stand against bullying. The Ugly Bug Ball will help illustrate what bullying looks like from a child’s perspective.
If you were bullied as a child or young adult, I would like to hear from you. What was your experience like? How long were you bullied? Did you ever tell an adult, what was the result? Do you think this shaped who you became?
Dr. Anissa Freeman