Bullying is a problem that can derail a child’s schooling, social life, and emotional well-being. A report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics states that bullying occurs on a daily or weekly basis in 23 percent of public schools across the United States. The issue has gained more attention in recent years because of technology and new ways to communicate and harass one other, such as the internet, cell phones, and social media. Adults may have a tendency to ignore bullying and write it off as a normal part of life that all kids go through. But bullying is a real problem with serious consequences.
Everyone wants to believe that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” but for some children and teens (and adults), that’s not true. Words can be just as harmful, or even more so, than physical abuse.
Bullying is a behavior that includes a whole range of actions that cause physical or emotional pain, from spreading rumors, to intentional exclusion, to physical abuse. It can be subtle and many children don’t tell their parents or teachers about it out of fear of shame or retribution. Children may also fear they won’t be taken seriously if they report being bullied. It’s important that parents, teachers, and other adults constantly look for bullying behaviors.
Some warning signs that your child is being bullied include:
- unexplained cuts or bruises
- damaged or missing clothing, books, school supplies, or other belongings
- loss of appetite
- trouble sleeping
- emotionally reticent
- taking unnecessarily long routes to school
- sudden poor performance or loss of interest in school work
- no longer wanting to hang out with friends
- asking to stay home sick because of frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches, or other ailments
- social anxiety or low self-esteem
- feeling moody or depressed
- any unexplained change in behavior
This excerpt is from Healthline.com written by Elijah Wolfson. Medically Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP on June 21, 2016
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