Bullying is a prominent issue that has only increased in severity, especially with the onset of the Digital Age. According to DoSomething.org, more than 3.2 million students fall victim to bullying each year. Though this number is vast, it can be easy to overlook the warning signs that your child is either being bullied or is bullying others.
Because children often fear embarrassment or other ramifications, they are inclined to keep quiet about their situations at school. However, due to the negative effects bullying can have on mental health—whether at present or later in life—it is crucial that parents or guardians be on the lookout for any telltale signs of bullying. Though signs may not always be present, following are a few that are most common, according to StopBullying.gov:
- Your child has injuries that he or she cannot, or refuses to, explain.
- Your child’s belongings—clothing, electronic devices, etc.—go missing without any reason offered.
- Your child more frequently experiences headaches or stomach aches, or even fakes illness; subsequently, grades may suffer.
- Furthermore, your child may start to lose sleep due to recurring nightmares.
If you notice any of the above signs, along with a decreased self-esteem and self-destructive behaviors, it is important that you reach out to your child immediately. And while maintaining communication is vital, counseling may also be necessary. With both parents or guardians and a qualified counselor involved, the root of the problem can be exposed and resolved. But what if your child is the bully?
Naturally, parents do not want to think about their own child preying on others; however, it is essential to remain tuned in to a child’s behaviors exhibited at home or at school. Furthermore, with the rise in cyberbullying, monitoring Internet usage may also be necessary. Just as signs may not always be present that a child is being bullied, it may be difficult to identify a bully. Below are among the most common signs witnessed:
- Your child often provokes fights, whether physical or verbal, not only in school but also at home.
- You have found money or other items in your child’s possession that did not belong to them.
- Your child is sent to the principal’s office or subjected to detention more frequently.
- Furthermore, your child may refuse to accept responsibility for his or her own actions, tending to, instead, place blame on others.
Though no parent wishes to discover that his or her child is a bully, it is imperative that the issue, once known, is addressed expediently. With the help of a mental health professional, such as those at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, parents can ensure their children get back on the right track to lead healthy, normal lives.
Beyond depression and feelings of loneliness, bullying can have a major, and often lasting, impact on multiple areas of a child’s life. Not only can this form of abuse affect their mental health and academic standing, but it can also, in extreme circumstances, lead to their resulting to violent measures.
By learning to talk about it and recognizing when further help is needed, parents can help to eradicate bullying. Safe Harbor Christian Counseling offers extensive services for both children and adolescents, as well as adults. If your child is suffering from abuse or is bullying others, we encourage you to contact us at 800-305-2089 or visit our website today. Interested individuals are also welcome to join in our faith-based dialogue on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.