Facts on bullying:
- Imbalance of power. Typically those who engage in bully-like behaviors use their strength, popularity or power to harm, control or manipulate others. They will usually target those who are weaker in size or may have a difficult time defending themselves.
- Intent to cause harm. A bully is a person who does not do things by accident. The bully intends to physically or emotionally injure a person or group of persons.
- Repetition. Typically incidents of bullying are not a one-time thing. Bullies target the same person or group over and over again.
It is important for parents to discuss the facts on bullying with their children to help teach them how to watch out for bullying and to avoid being bullied. There are several signs parents can look for when evaluating if your child is a victim of bullying.
- Comes home with unexplained injuries or with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
- Has change in eating habits
- Makes excuses not to go to school
- Has fewer friends
- Feels helpless
- Talks about suicide
- Acts out of character
- Avoids certain places or playing outside alone
- Feels like they are not good enough
- Has trouble sleeping
- Blames themselves for their problems
The facts on bullying also provide information on what types of signs to look for in children who might be bullying others.
- Becomes frequently violent
- Has trouble controlling anger
- Is manipulative and controlling of others and situations
- Is quick to blame others
- Does not accept responsibility for their actions
- Needs to win or be the best at everything
Understanding these warning signs can help parents prevent their children from becoming bullies or help them not become a victim of a bully. Counseling or therapy are good methods in helping to treat a child who exhibits symptoms of bullying. Children who are victims may also need some kind of support or counseling to help resolve underlying issues of emotional feelings of inadequacy. Children who are confident and have higher self-esteem are less likely to fall prey to the attacks of bullying.
Sources: mychildsafety.net, http://www.stopbullying.gov/