Signs of Bullying and How Parents Can Help
As parents, we try to do everything we can to keep our kids safe and happy. The start of the school year is a great time to arm them with skills to recognize and handle bullying situations, which 25% of school age children experience. With only 40% of bullying incidents being reported to an adult, Stopbullying.gov offers the following tips to recognize the signs of bullying.
Signs of bullying include:
- Unexplained injuries
- Lost or destroyed personal items
- Frequent headaches or stomachaches
- Faking illness
- Skipping lunch
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Declining grades
- Not wanting to go to school
- Loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of low self-esteem
- Running away from home
- Contemplating or attempting suicide
Signs of a child bullying others:
- Getting into physical or verbal fights
- Acting increasingly aggressive
- Having unexplained extra money or possessions
- Blaming others for personal problems
- Being overly concerned about popularity/reputation
- Having friends who bully others
Tips for how you can help:
- Help your kids get involved!
Encourage them to make friends in school, try out for sports teams, join religious groups, join Boy or Girl Scouts and/or get involved in music groups. By creating a support system, they will have friends to help if they begin to get bullied.
- Develop safe and open communication with your children about bullying.
You can help them feel comfortable sharing with you if they get bullied or engage in bullying behavior. Teach them to “stand-up” for the victim if witnessing an incident by saying: “Stop. This is not right,” and helping pull the victim away and notify an adult.
- Teach your kid to be assertive and prepared in situations.
Practice role playing at home, so your child can look the bully in the eye, remain calm, say, "Do not talk to me like that. If this continues I am going to the principal," and walk away. Or, teach your child to deflect with humor and always tell an adult. Encourage your child to seek the company of a peer, in case there is fear of encountering the bully again.
Your pediatrician can also help you manage your child’s emotional or physical stress related to bullying. If you need a pediatrician, call 1-844-615-1237 or visit www.iwantsentaramedicalgroup.com and our Sentara Care Connection Team will help schedule you with a provider at Sentara Pediatric Physicians.