Is Your Child Being Bullied?
Is your child miserable at school? Do they not want to go, are they faking being sick? It might be that your child is being bullied.
What is Bullying?
Bullying (more correctly peer bullying) is harassment or violence that happens between children. It can take many forms (it is not always physical violence) and can occur both in and out of school as well as online. Bullying might include physical attacks, verbal attacks, emotional intimidating, sexual harassment, and racially motivated attacks. Bullying that occurs on social media and other places online, is also known as cyberbullying.
Is Your Child Being Bullied?
There are a number of signs that your child may be being bullied. Here are some of the key indicators:
- Your child’s property and clothing are damaged or missing.
- Unexpected physical injuries such as bruises and scratches.
- Not spending a lot of time with friends.
- Shows fear of going to school, riding the school bus, or engaging in extra-curricular activities.
- Looks for reasons not to go to school, or makes excuses. A key sign is faking illness.
- Walking to school by a convoluted means or intentionally missing the bus so they “have” to walk.
- Losing interest in school work or an abrupt drop in grades.
- Sad and moody when returning home.
- Physical symptoms that include headaches, stomachaches, insomnia and appetite loss.
Children at particular risk include children with disabilities, LGBT kids and children of color in predominantly-white schools, or vice versa.
What to Do if you Suspect your Child is Being Bullied?
Many children will refuse to answer or evade answering if they are outright asked if they are being bullied. It’s better to take a bit of an oblique approach. You can also go to your child’s school. Set up an appointment to talk with a teacher and ask about how well your child is getting on with other kids. If you aren’t satisfied, go to the principal or guidance counselor if there is one.
If your child has the symptoms above but is not being bullied, you might want to talk to a school counselor. Kids who are being bullied may, in any case, benefit from therapy.
While self defense is the most common-sense option, you must keep in mind that most schools have a zero tolerance rule towards violence and some bullies become expert at provoking other kids to hit first and then getting them suspended. Your child might even be expelled or get a criminal record. Instead, suggest that they try to stay closer to adults, walk away from the bully if possible, and try to make friends so they are with a group. If you are thoroughly unsatisfied with the response from the school, changing your child’s school if possible can be a possible solution. You can also file charges against the bully with the school board and, if appropriate, with law enforcement. Make sure to document everything.
Why Do Bullies Do It?
Kids who bully do so for a number of reasons. There are a few things that are well known to cause bullying:
- Abusive or overly strict parents.
- Lack of attention at home. Kids who’s parents are going through a divorce are more likely to act out in all ways.
- Being bullied by an older sibling.
- Being abused by an adult role model, such as a teacher or sports coach. Sports coaches are particularly likely to engage in bully-like behavior which is often disguised as “being tough on them.”
- Low self esteem or low empathy.
- Mental health issues.
Bullies need help, and if you suspect your child is a bully, you should get them professional counseling to get to the root of why and help them find healthier coping mechanisms. However, this doesn’t mean their behavior should be justified and allowed to happen.
Bullying and Crimes
Both bullies and their victims are more likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults. About 14% of those who suffered repeated bullying round up serving time, as opposed to 6% of those who did not. Being a victim is associated with substance abuse as well as delinquency and getting a criminal record.
This means that you need to intervene if you think your child is being bullied, and the sooner the better. Parents are responsible for protecting their children from bullies and teachers and schools need to work on reasonable bullying prevention programs that also address cyberbullying.
If your child is developing criminal tendencies and has got into trouble with the law, 8 Ball Bail Bonds can help with bail issues and making sure they don’t have to spend time in detention. Contact us to find out what we can do to help you and your family