Guest column: Is your child being bullied?
This story came across my e-mail and I believe it is worth sharing. It was originally written for a nonprofit website, K12@moms.com, which is underwritten by Sylvan Learning franchisees.
Few days pass without news of another instance of bullying and its tragic effects on the one targeted. Though we often shudder and shake our heads in dismay, the sad reality is that parents are often the last to know when their child is being bullied. With that in mind, in this next series of articles, we are going to look at bullying from several different angles: the signs of bullying (when your child won’t tell you), what to do when your child is being bullied, and what to do when you find out that your child is the bully. Lastly, we will focus on cyber bullying and how to respond to this form of abuse in the electronic age.
What is bullying?
As moms, we must acknowledge the fact that today’s bullying is much different than the “teasing” typically experienced in school. Bullying, by definition, is ongoing aggressive behavior, which is intended to cause harm, physical or otherwise. It is, in essence, a form of child abuse. And by its very nature, there is usually an imbalance of power present in the relationship. For example, the one bullying physically is often much larger in stature than the one being bullied. In the case of verbal bullying, which includes threats and spreading rumors and lies, there is often a “pack” mentality, with several aligned against one. And though bullying is not restricted by age (some of you might be dealing with a workplace bully right now), its effects are particularly harmful for adolescents, who are just beginning to build self-esteem.
What are the signs?
If your child is being bullied, you will probably see signs of it at home (though you might initially think it is your child’s relationship within the family that is the problem instead of his or her relationship with others). Signs of bullying include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
1. Physical injuries – Scratches, bruises and other physical marks
2. Missing or damaged personal items
3. Physical symptoms – Sleeplessness, loss of appetite
4. Emotional signs – Anxiety, withdrawal, depression
Won’t it resolve itself?
Most adolescents are embarrassed to be a target of bullying, which is a reason why so many of them do not share their experience with others, especially their parents. In fact, they typically just hope it will “go away” on its own. Unfortunately, bullying rarely stops without some sort of intervention by an authority figure, whether that is a parent, school administrator, or law enforcement official.
As we work through the latest research and recommendations regarding bullying, I hope you will be able to share these findings with other moms. Unfortunately, bullying has become disturbingly common in today’s world. However, equipped with the correct information and appropriate responses, we can protect our kids! So please stay tuned for our next article: Bullying: What’s A Mom To Do?
Articles provided by Sylvan Learning Centers of Phoenix for the benefit our readers.