WHAT CAN I DO?
You can watch for warning signs of bullying in your children, your children’s friends, and if you work at a school or any institution where there are lots of children and teens, you can look for those warning signs in the youth.. These warning signs will be listed below.
The ONE most important thing you can do is to say to your child, “I want to ask you a personal question and I need for you to answer me honestly. I PROMISE that I will not tell anybody else without your permission.
If you are a teacher, a Sunday school teacher, friend of the family or any other interested adult, say the same thing to any child you care about.
The question is: “Has any person younger or older than you bullied you, said something to you that has hurt your feelings, pushed or hit you, threatened you in any way? If you are being bullied or have been bullied, please tell me. You probably do not know what bullying can do to your mind later but I know and I do not want you to be harmed in any way by another person or persons.
If the child tells you that he/she has been bullied, the best thing you can do is find a way to get him/her to counseling with one who specializes in bullying. It may be that you will have to talk to a parent. If you do you must swear that parent to secrecy so he or she does not “blow the whistle” on whoever is involved. If you tell a parent and he/she complains to the school, the child will never trust you again and may not get the help that is vitally needed. If you are the parent and you go to the school or the parents of the bully to complain, your child may never trust you again and end up not getting the counseling he/she needs. Nobody but the counselor needs to know because he/she is the only person who can really help the child.
Below are common warning signs of being bullied:
- Unexplained injuries
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent sick days
- Missing personal items
- Falling grades
- Tendency to self-harm
- Avoidance of places, classes, missing the bus, walking different route home
- Loss of sleep
- Exclusion from social activities
- Frequent stomach or head aches
- Frequent nightmares
- Sudden loss of friends
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Talking about suicide
- Running away from home
- Afraid of riding the school bus
- Doesn’t want to go to school
- Marked change in behavior or personality
- Begins bullying siblings or younger kids
- Wants to get home to use the bathroom
- Has accidents of urinating in clothes
- Ravenous for food when comes home cause bullies take his lunch or lunch money
- Starts feeling “not good enough” blames self
- Starts saying negative things about self: “I’m stupid, I stink, I’m an idiot, Nobody likes me, maybe I should just disappear
- Missing items of clothing that were put on in the morning
- Pain in sitting down or walking
- Blood in underwear
- Hitting or kicking
- Raising his/her voice at another
- Appears anxious or worried
- Asking for or stealing extra money (to pay bullies)
Lane A Stokes, LPC, SMHC, M.Div, MS, CPE
Marriage Counselor and Mental Health Specialist
Counseling Services Atlanta Group LLC