By Dr. Danielle Moncrieffe
Unfortunately, bullying is a fact of life for many children. And it’s a problem that isn’t going away. According to one recent study of a typical junior high school, four in five students admitted to some form of bullying behavior at least once a month. This behavior ranged from name-calling, to verbal threats, physical violence, social exclusion and other types of bullying behavior.
For parents, dealing with bullying can be a challenging experience. However, it is best not to ignore or downplay it. Bullying has been known to cause lasting psychological damage, including depression and thoughts of suicide. Children who bully others are also prone to the same psychological problems. In fact, children who bully others were frequently bullied when they were younger themselves.
It’s important to be able to recognize signs that your child is suffering from bullying. Many children are too embarrassed to let their parents know they are being bullied. Some indications that a child is being bullied include:
- A sudden lack of interest in school
- A drop in grades
- Not wanting to go to school
- Morning complaints of headaches and stomachaches
- Unexplained bruising or other signs of physical injury
Even if you don’t think your child is being bullied at school, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open so they will eventually talk to you if they do encounter it. Simply ask them these three questions:
- How are things going at school?
- What do you think of the other kids in your class?
- Does anyone get picked on or bullied?
Let your child know that it’s okay to ask for help if they are being bullied. Be sure to tell them that it isn’t their fault. Encouraging your child to make new friends and participate in activities such as team sports, music groups and social clubs can help. Experiencing a different environment outside of school can often make a difference. Remember that children who are loners are often the ones who are picked on the most.
It’s important to talk with people at your child’s school if you suspect your child is being bullied. Most schools will take action to stop bullying. You should talk with whoever you feel is most appropriate including the school principal, your child’s teachers, guidance counselor, and playground monitors. You should also keep written records of each incident of bullying, including the name, date, place, time and other details. This includes any threatening or disparaging emails or social media posts. Some parents have had to resort to legal measures to stop bullying and having a written record is an important step in that process.
Every child deserves to be able to go to school free from the worry of another student doing them harm or making fun of them. Just because bullying has been around for ages doesn’t mean it should be tolerated. Bullying creates real harm to children who often cannot protect themselves. It’s up to parents to do whatever they can to stop and prevent it.
You can learn more about dealing with bullying at this website: www.stopbullying.gov.
About Danielle Moncrieffe, MD
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Danielle Moncrieffe decided to become a pediatrician because she enjoys working with children so much each day.
Dr. Moncrieffe has a special interest in caring for newborns and helping new parents deal with all the issues a new baby can bring. “I love to work with babies. It always seems they have a big smile on their face,” she explains. “Plus it’s very satisfying to be able to work...View profile View posts by this doctor