It's Back to School season and as you relax back into the routine remember to keep a watchful eye on your child's routine too! Are you missing the signs of bullying? Statistics show that 28% of children in school are victims of bullying which also means bullies exist in similar if not larger numbers.
Studies by theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics reveal that young people with low self-esteem are at greater risk of bullying, but a low-self esteem may also be what urges some to bully as well.
There are two factors at play when bullying is evident. The bully is usually a victim of his or her own abuse and finds a bit of release when attacking another. A victim of bullying is usually a weaker individual who is now subjected to emotional damage as a result from bullying.
Bullying varies from verbal abuse to violent acts depending on the circumstances. All variations of bullying can do irreversible harm.
Mental Health Advocates have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression and an increased risk for suicide. But less is known about the long-term psychological health of adults who, as children, were bullies or victims of bullying. When a child is both a bully and bullied by their peers, this is a red flag and can indicate that the youngster has other serious psychiatric problems, and often, these children are at high risk for later adversities in adulthood, including a wide range of mental health problems.
Recognizing, Ending, and repairing the results of Bullying starts at home!
Is your child a victim of bullying? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:
Visible cuts or bruises
Damage to property or loss of property such as school supplies or personal items
Chronic illnesses such as stomach aches, headaches, or just feeling sick
Behavioral changes such as different eating habits, different sleeping habits, withdrawn
behaviors, or lack of interest in favored activities
Self Destructive behaviors such as being argumentative, poor school performance in grades or programs, or suicidal thoughts
Is your child a bully? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:
Doesn't accept responsibility for negative actions
Often has new belongings that you did not purchase for him/her
Hangs around with a destructive crowd while focusing on popularity or a reputation
Gets in trouble a lot at school
Is competitive and combative at the same time
5 THINGS CAN DO AT HOME TO PREVENT YOUR CHILD FROM BEING A BULLY OR A VICTIM OF BULLYING:
Monitor your child's social media activity, google searches and online activities. The internet is a great source of information not only for a person but also about a person based on their internet habits. Is your child researching ways to harm others or defend his/her self? Is your child making fun of others on social media or being made fun of on his/her social media account? If you monitor your child's internet activity as well as set limitations you can prevent harm not only in regards to bullying but multiple other threats that are in the cyber world. (To learn more about technology safety and your child be sure to check out Project Harmony).
Communicate with your child on a regular basis! Keeping the door open to communication is the most valuable thing you can do for your child during their school years as this is the time they develop their social skills and general life skills. Keeping the door open means to listen without judgement and advise without bias. Sometimes it's hard to be a parent and a friend, but when you're not able to balance the two you could be seen as the enemy and it's a fine line. Talking with your children on their level can not only protect them from bullying, but also from being a victim of numerous threats out there for young, impressionable children.
Ask the right questions...carefully. Ask your children if they've ever witnessed bullying, how they felt about it and what they did if they saw it. Ask if they've ever been bullied or bullied someone and what the result was. Choose your responses carefully. Sometimes a victim is afraid to report bullying and telling them they have to will not help. Also, breaking their trust by reporting it without their permission could harm your relationship. Never tell your child to fight back or choose revenge. If you learn your child is a bully, find out why. Is it their peers influencing the behavior? Did something happen at home to influence this behavior? Remember, also, there is therapy available for children that can help with the problems you may discover and aren't sure how to resolve. Also, schools have professional counselors on staff that are willing to meet with you and your child privately to resolve these types of situations so take advantage of that! (stopbullying.gov is a great resource on how to talk with your child about bullying and other valuable info on the topic.)
Remember that your home and family life is where it all begins! Be sure you are providing a quality way of life for your child(ren) to the best of your ability. Many households have single parents trying to hold it all together, or even with two parents it can be hard in modern society to make time for your children when so much other responsibility is baring down on you to be able to provide for them. It's easy to lose focus on what makes quality family time when you are in a situation that brings your work home with you or many other issues that can consume most of your time. Life is hard enough but being a parent is no small challenge, especially in this day and age. Do what you must to schedule time with your child(ren) daily and if there is more time available on weekends, use it wisely. Pay attention to homework and school activities. Be as involved as you possibly can in your child's lives. (Families for Life offers a great list of tips to help you build a better family life in a hectic world - click here!)
For more tips about this important topic, visit: www.kidpower.org. For more insightful blogs, be sure to follow me here!