28% of 12 – 18 year-old students are bullied according according to Nation Center for Education Statistics, 2013.
Bullying can have many forms, it can be physical or verbal. It can take place at school, playground or Social Media. A child that has been bullied more often than not is going through some trauma which can have profound consequences to its well being. As parents we are responsible of recognizing the problem and taking action.
Here’s is what you should do if you think your child is one of them.
1. Keep an open door. Carefully observe your child. Look for behavior that is different then usual, ask questions and don’t let one word answer deter you. Be open to dialog and encourage daily conversation about school, friends and general daily life. Kids need to know from their early years that you care about them and you will be there for them.
2. Recognize the signs. Despite open communication, there is no guarantee children will admit of being bullied. Studies suggest that up to 60 percent of bullied kids don’t report it.
Why don’t kids ask for help?
Kids don’t tell adults for many reasons:
- Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
- Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
- Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids 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.
- Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
- Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.
As a parent you can recognize signs of bullying even if your child does not admit to it. 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:
- Unexplainable injuries
- 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
Your confidence in the Rules of Engagement will reduce the likelihood of fights
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