Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Warning Signs of Bullying

Q. I saw last week's article on bullying via my Facebook newsfeed. Do you have any other warning signs to watch out for in my child?

A. There are several warning signs which may help you identify whether or not your child is being bullied.

Warning signs your child is being bullied:
  • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings or “loses” things without being able to give a proper explanation of what has happened.
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
  • 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 (mood swings with sudden outbursts of irritation or anger), teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical ailments
  • Experiences a loss of appetite
  • Appears anxious and/or suffers from low self-esteem
  • Steals or asks for extra money from members of the family (to soften up the bullies)
Remember, bullying is difficult for kids to navigate and know how to handle. They often feel they should handle it on their own and don't want to 'tattle' on the kids in their school. However, if you see or suspect that your child is being bullied, it is an issue to take very seriously. Talk to your kids about bullying and mention to them if you see the warning signs listed above.

Also, be aware bullying can take place not only in a school, church, or neighborhood setting, but also online. Many bullies and online predators are using the anonymity of the internet to attack their victims. October is Cyber Safety month. If you would like to learn more about cyber safety and keeping your kids safe in this new frontier, check out this article on Cyber Safety.
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Source: http://http//www.samhsa.gov/

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.

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