What is Bullying
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.
The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Bullying Is a Big Problem
Every day many of our children wake up afraid to go to school because of a bully. It is a problem that affects millions of students across the world and it has everyone worried, not just the children on its receiving end. While this is true, parents, teachers, and other adults may be turning a blind eye to the problem and children are left in the dark to deal with the bully.
Two of the main reasons people are bullied are because of appearance and social status.
Bullies pick on the people they think don't fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act (for example, children who are shy and withdrawn), their race or religion, where they live, whow their parents are or because the bullies think their target may be gay or lesbian.
Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault.
Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge. For example, children in popular groups or cliques often bully people they categorize as different by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying).
Verbal bullying can also involve sending cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website — practices that are known as cyberbullying.
Signs a Child is Being Bullied
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem
Is Your Child A Bully?
Children may be bullying others if they:
Get into physical or verbal fights
Have friends who bully others
Are increasingly aggressive
Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
Blame others for their problems
Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
Are excessively competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
Why Children Do Not Ask For Help?
Children don’t tell adults for many reasons:
Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Children may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
Children may fear backlash from the child who bullied them.
Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Children may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false.
They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
Children who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
Children may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect Chidlren from bullying, and children can fear losing this support.