Resources for Parents:
As parents you play a key role in your child’s life and need to know the signs of bullying, whether it is that your child is being bullied or is the one bullying someone else. In many cases of bullying only 1/3 of parents were notified that their child was being bullied. Be proactive and ask your child, and even more so, be an active part of your child's life.
Warning Signs of Your Child Being Bullied:
* Unexplainable Injuries
* Clothing, Electronics or Jewelry being lost or destroyed
* Frequent Headaches or Stomach Aches, feeling sick or faking illness
* Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating.
* Child is having a hard time sleeping, or is having frequent nightmares
* Child is doing poorly in school or has lost interest in schoolwork or school altogether
* Loss of friends
* Child tries to avoid social situations
* Feelings of helplessness or low self esteem
* Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.
Signs a Child is Bullying Others
* Is often getting into physical or verbal altercations
* Have friends who pick on and bully other people
* Have become increasingly aggressive
* Has been having frequents interactions with school administration
* Has new belongings that were not given to him
* Does not accept responsibility for their own actions
Why Don't Kids ask for Help?
* Bullying can make a child feel helpless. They may want to attempt to handle it on their own to feel in control again
* Some fear backlash from the bully, or for being seen as a tattletale.
* Bullying can be a humiliating experience for a child, and to tell their parents can further their humiliation
* Kids who are bullied can feel like no one cares about them or their problems
* They fear rejection by their peers
What To Do if your Child is Bullied
It is never recommended to approach the bully’s parents directly. This is a job for either the school, or the police (if outside of school).
- Find out pertinent and detailed information about what the bullies are doing, dates, times, places, actions, etc. Document everything.
- Find out any threats that have been made toward your child, and if it pertains to outside of school; contact the police.
- Contact the school during hours of operation and make an appointment with the principal for a face to face meeting.
- Obtain a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy to determine if the bully violated a school policy.
- When you meet with the school principal, tell your child’s story and ask for help.
- Relate the facts and leave your emotions out of it. If you feel the bully has violated the school’s anti-bullying policy, bring this up in the conversation.
- Ask what you can do together to stop the bullying. Agree to take an active role if needed.
- Follow up with your child to see if the bullying stops, and follow up with the principal.
- If the bullying does not stop you may file charges with the school board and law enforcement if appropriate.
Over half of young people do not tell their parents when they are being cyber bullied.
How Parents and Teens can help end Cyber bullying:
* Encourage teens to tell an adult if cyber bullying is occurring. Tell them if they are a victim they will not be punished, and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.
* Teens should keep messages as proof cyber bullying is occurring. The parents of the victim may want to talk to the parents of the bully, the bully, the internet or cell phone provider or to the police, especially if the messages are threatening or sexual in nature.
* Block the messages from being sent to your inbox or social media accounts.
* Teens should never tell their passwords to anyone and should write it down in a spot where it can't be found by anyone else.
* Encourage teens to never share personal online information.
* Encourage teens to have times when they turn off technology, such as during family meals.
These websites are intended to help parents learn about more ways to help their children who are being bullied through technology; they are designed to teach you what steps you can take to prevent and stop cyber bullying.
Bullying Can Be A Crime
There are laws such as harassment, assault, or larceny that can be charged if a bullying situation rises to the level of physical threats, physical interactions, or theft. Please reach out to law enforcement if you encounter a situation that rises to this level. There may also be civil penalties associated with bullying behavior.
Bullying and Suicide - Know the Signs
“Both victims and perpetrators of bullying are at a higher risk for suicide than their peers. Children who are both victims and perpetrators of bullying are at the highest risk. All three groups (this includes victims, perpetrators and perpetrator/victims) are more likely to be depressed than children who are not involved in bullying. Depression is a major risk factor for suicide” – Suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Warning Signs of Suicide
The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
o Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
o Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
o Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
o Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
o Talking about being a burden to others.
o Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
o Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
o Sleeping too little or too much.
o Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
o Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
o Displaying extreme mood swings.