Officially Anti-Bullying Month
October seems to be the month for awareness of some kind or another. There’s breast cancer awareness, domestic violence awareness and bullying prevention awareness just to name a few. Luckily I only obligated myself to participate in two of the three but obviously, by default at my birth, breast cancer is equally as important to me. I’m going to take a minute though and focus on bullying prevention.
I was bullied in elementary school and I still hold deep resentment and will most likely always harbor some form of despise. It may not seem very healthy but I’m ok with it, I just want to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to my children. Which leads me to the question, would you know if your child was being bullied? And, equally important, would you know if your child was the bully?
There are distinct signs that a child is being bullied and they include but are not limited to the following:
- Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
- Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
- Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
- Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs)
- Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
- Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
- Complains frequently of headaches, stomachac
hes, or other physical ailments
- Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
- Experiences a loss of appetite
- Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem
If you sense something is wrong, you are probably right. It doesn’t hurt to take action and take the route of being proven wrong if your child is indeed not being bullied. If you are right and your instincts have grabbed the signs early enough, you may be able to prevent some long term damage that experts have cited as the result of being bullied.
That then brings me to the point of having a child who is the bully. We all like to think we have raised our children to be polite and have feelings for other human beings. The bottom line however is this, children will do the very thing that you least expect. And, if that thing is bullying, then you need to do a gut check and see if your instincts are correct.
If you don’t know what to look for, here are a few signs that may indicate you need to take inventory of your child’s behavior.
- Positive views towards violence
- Often aggressive towards adults – including teachers or parents
- Marked need to control and dominate others and situations
- Boy bullies tend to be physically stronger than their peers
- Hot tempered, impulsive, easily frustrated
- Often test limits or break rules
- Good at talking their way out of difficult situations
- Show little sympathy toward others who are bullied
Not all children are bullies and not all children are bullied. It’s a fine line and sometimes even the children don’t realize that the treatment that they feel is wrong actually is. The best you can hope for as a parent is to be proactive in the discussion of bullying. It is vital that we are part of our children’s lives and take care to monitor the dialogue so we know exactly what is going on in their little lives.