Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. Bullying is destructive and dangerous behavior that can leave physical scars as well as mental. Those who have been bullied can suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses. If your child is being bullied at school or even online, you may not even know it. Often those that are bullied will feel ashamed and may be embarrassed to talk about it with their parents. Silence only makes the shame worse and the bullying continues.
Luckily, there are some ways that you can tell your child or teen is being bullied. Here are five of the most common signs of bullying and some ways to address them.
1. Bumps and Bruises
Children will sometimes come home with bumps and bruises. This is a normal part of growing up and they often get them from playing a little too rough. But when your child regularly comes home with bumps and bruises, there might be a bullying issue at play. Many times, bullies will start out being mentally abusive to their victims, then the name calling and shaming will turn into something more physically violent. When this happens, bumps, bruises and even cuts can be a part of your child’s everyday routine. This is very dangerous and you should do something about it before something serious happens.
After speaking with your child, make sure that you follow up with a trip to your school. If the bullying is happening somewhere else, go to the grownups in charge of keeping an eye on your child. Tell them your concerns and ask them to help you identify who is doing the bullying so that the behavior can be corrected. If your child has been seriously injured by a bully, you should always contact law enforcement after your trip to the emergency room. Documenting the incident is important and it will help your child seek justice.
2. Damage to Your Child’s Property
Once a bully has established power over your child, they may get bored with simply abusing them physically. The bully will then turn to your child’s belongings as a way to further torment their victim. If you have noticed your child’s clothing has been ripped, their backpack has been damaged, or other items they take to school have been destroyed, it can be a sign of bullying. Property damage is a way to further control your child and it can cause emotional damage the same way that physical harm does.
So, if you notice your child’s belongings have been repeatedly damaged and your child has no explanation, you should definitely look into the issue. Be proactive and call the school and ask to speak with someone in authority. Most schools now have a no bullying policy and would be glad to hear your concerns. Bullying prevention is a team effort that should involve everyone including school faculty.
3. Emotional Issues
One of the most common signs of bullying is emotional issues. This can often be heartbreaking to see your child go through and emotional issues will last a lot longer than bumps and bruises. If the bullying is severe, your child may have emotional issues for the rest of their life. This is why bullying prevention is so important.
Some of the emotional issues that your child may have include nightmares. While kids often have nightmares, if your child wakes up screaming at night or refuses to sleep on their own, it could be a sign of bullying. Other emotional issues can include a diminishing self-esteem, bed wetting, refusing to eat regularly or eating too much to cope with the bullying. This can greatly affect their lives in a negative way and they will often carry these emotional issues with them for many years unless their feelings are addressed. That’s why getting professional help for your child is something you should consider.
4. Poor Grades
If you notice that your child is not doing as well in school as they use to, it could be a sign of bullying. When kids are dealing with bullying, they often lose focus of their schoolwork. Bullies can cause emotional stress in the classroom which makes it difficult for your child to focus and cause their grades to fall. Your child may even get into trouble in school due to bullying.
Bullying prevention is highly important to your child’s grades and their future. If your child is an adolescent in high school, poor grades could affect their future by putting a college education at risk. This is why you should always be on the alert and know the warning signs of bullying.
Another sign that your child may be dealing with bullying is withdrawal. Many children will withdraw from family events and they may even stop doing the things they love. Some will spend hours locked in their room and will not want to talk about their school day. Others will even refuse to attend school and sometimes they may skip school. All of these are signs of bullying along with depression. Depression can also contribute to withdrawal and some children may even become self-destructive.
Self-harm and even suicide attempts are a growing trend for teenagers who are being bullied.. Every day it seems we hear on the news that another teenager has passed away due to bullying. Stopping the bullying epidemic is vital to the future of our children and their wellbeing.
While bullying prevention starts at home, getting professional help and advice is also important. Here at San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we can help! Our team of dedicated professionals have focused on bullying prevention and helping those who are affected by this serious issue. Contact us to start the healing process and get your child the help he or she needs for dealing with mental health issues caused by bullying.