Bullying in the United States has reached epidemic proportions, and technological advances like social media have only served to make things worse with the advent of cyberbullying. School-age children face the highest risk of being bullied, and it is vital that victims receive the help they need.
In a previous blog—which you can read here—we discussed some of the things you should avoid doing if you ever discover that your child is being bullied. Today, we will cover some of the signs to watch for that may indicate abuse at the hands of a peer. It is important to watch closely for these signs as many children will not explicitly ask for the help they so badly need.
Certainly, children who play sports or play outdoors are going to develop bumps and bruises from time to time, but pay close attention when your child comes home with any sort of injuries and never assume the cause. If you notice something—particularly if injuries occur with any frequency—inquire how it happened. If your child has trouble explaining how they got injured, or if their explanations are implausible, there may be serious cause for concern. Look for bruises, burns, cuts and scratches, and anything else out of the ordinary.
As you probably already know, school is one of the primary locations in which children often face bullying. Pay attention to any school-related issues that develop, such as a sudden drop in grades or a lack of interest. A particularly telling hint that your child may be a victim of bullying in school is if he or she begins trying to avoid school or skip school using tactics like pretending to be sick.
Children who are abused by bullies oftentimes develop eating issues as a coping mechanism. Some may resort to binge eating, while others may lean towards the opposite extreme.
A clear indicator of bullying is when your child suddenly develops significant self-esteem issues. Bullying can have a severe impact on your child’s perception of his or her self worth. If you begin to notice that your child’s confidence is decreasing, that they’ve developed a negative attitude about themselves, or that they may even be depressed, you should always try to figure out the cause.
Avoiding Social Situations
As with attempts to avoid school, refusals to participate in social situations may also be a result of bullying issues.
In severe circumstances, bullying may lead to dangerous self-destructive behavior. These behaviors manifest in a wide-variety of ways, including things like cutting, drinking, drug abuse, and potentially even suicidal tendencies.
Bullying can happen to anyone at any time, and it is those who are the most vulnerable who usually suffer. As a parent or someone in a position of authority over children such as a teacher, it is your duty to pay close attention to any signs that a child is facing some sort of bullying or abuse. If you or a loved one has been physically or psychologically injured by a bully, please reach out to Inkelaar Law and let us help.