Do you know of someone who is or has been bullied at school? The psychological effects are sometimes lifelong. School bullying statistics show that an alarming one in four children are bullied regularly in the United States. With advanced technology, texting and computers are also used to bully and harass kids. We have all seen in the news and read in the newspaper of someone who took their own life as a result of being bullied. No child should have to suffer through this type of abuse. You can make a difference by talking with your kids and making sure they understand what bullying is and that it is wrong. Talk with your children and help them to understand how damaging bullying is and encourage them to be nice to the children who are being bullied. Your child could make a difference in that’s child life. Monitor your child’s text messages and Facebook accounts. If you see that a child is being bullied, step in and be proactive in making it stop. Don’t assume that someone else will take care of it. If you know this is happening to a child, be the hero and make it stop.
According to experts, here are some signs that YOUR CHILD may be the victim of bullying:
1. Unexplained scrapes, cuts, bruises.
A tenth of students being bullied admitted to being pushed, tripped, shoved or spit on by a peer.
2. A change in appetite.
Teenagers usually eat well. If your child loses suddenly loses his or her appetite he or she may be the victim of bullying.
3. An unusual amount of sick days from school.
A survey conducted in 2011 by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education found that 5 percent of 12-year-olds to 18-year-olds admitted to missing school because of intimidation issues from another child.
4. Personal belongings come up missing.
Money, electronics, jewelry or toys missing? If your child is usually responsible and is all of a sudden missing items or coming home with his or her belongings being damaged, he or she could be being bullied at school.
5. Declining grades.
If your child loses interest in hobbies, social gatherings or activities he or she was once passionate about, you may want to ask questions about why that is.
6. Harming themselves.
Bullying victims sometimes self-harm because they have feelings of worthlessness. This may include cutting themselves, pulling out their hair, or suicide attempts.
If your child was once social and has become withdrawn, he or she may be trying to avoid intimidation.
If your child is missing the school bus, skipping classes, or asking you to take him to school, has changed his or her route to school or home from school, or is requesting to change schools, there is an issue. If they do not want to talk about it with you, this is also an indication that something is not right.
9. Loss of sleep.
Being bullied is an extremely stressful situation and loss of sleep may be the body’s way of dealing with this stress.
10. Being excluded from social activities.
If your child once enjoyed social activities with their friends at school, but now you find him or her secluding themselves and not wanting to be with others, talk to them.
If you feel there may be a problem with your child or a friend of your child, don’t let it go. They may be reluctant to talk at first, but with your support and friendship, they will hopefully confide in you. Talk to school officials or others if you suspect bullying.
If the bullying continues or causes injury to your child, it may be prudent to speak with an Arkansas lawyer to discuss if something can be done to stop the problem or remedy the situation. I also urge parents, students and school employees to read Arkansas Code § 6-18-514 – “Antibullying policies.”