If you're a parent, knowing that your child is being tormented and made fun of at school is painful, especially because you know your child deserves respect – every child does.
Unfortunately, bullying is prevalent. An intentional act of aggression and power-tripping, it can either be verbal, physical or relational.
Young boys often resort to physical bullying to exhibit their strength or dominance. While young girls may be unlikely to use physical means, their methods are just as worse. Girls often form exclusive cliques or groups, leaving others who are not part of it in social exclusion.
Bullying doesn't only happen in schools. The advent of social media has allowed bullies who can reach your child online. In social media platforms such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, kids can send hurtful messages without other people knowing that it is happening or without revealing their identity.
All over the world, about 77 percent of students have been victims of bullying. In the United States, one in every four students has been bullied, with 55 percent of them bullied because of their looks, 37 percent because of their body shape, and 16 percent because of their race.
The Effects Of Bullying On Children
Kids and teenagers who were bullied are at risk for developing several health problems later in life, as revealed by a new study in Canada.
The research team from University of Victoria found that physical and emotional bullying, which often involves verbal taunting, are associated with problems such as headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, backaches and poor body image.
Alanna D. Hager, the co-author of the study, said bullying is also linked to anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms and poor self-esteem. These problems can interfere and hinder a person's academic and work performance, relationships and economic success. It may also lead to more severe psychological problems.
In a different study featured in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers found a link between bullying and eating disorders. Both victims of bullying and the aggressor are most likely to experience symptoms of eating disorders. Bullies were more likely to exhibit bulimia symptoms, while victims were at greater risk for anorexia nervosa.
Parents ought to prevent this destructive behavior among children and join the fight against bullying. According to the American Psychological Association, here are several ways to help you deal with the situation.
For Parents Of Bullied Children
1. You have to be aware of what is happening to your kid/s. Different warning signs that parents and teachers should look for are as follows: irregular sleeping patterns, excessive health complaints from your kids that may let them stay home, hesitation in going to school, trouble concentrating in class, hiding underneath baggy clothes and avoiding activities that entail them to change clothes, such as gym class.
2. If you find out that your child is being bullied, don't tell them to "suck it up" or "let it go." Instead, talk to your child. Your conversations should be open-ended, allowing your kid to feel that you will protect him/her. Let your child know that you will help, and that if the bullying happens, he/she should not fight back against their aggressor.
3. Teach your child how to handle being bullied. Before the school administration does something, you should first teach your child to handle bullying without being defeated or crushed. You two can practice scenarios at home where your child learns to ignore bullies, or you can teach them assertive methods for coping with bullying. Tell your child which teachers and friends to trust if they're worried about being taunted.
4. Set restrictions regarding the use of technology. Inform your child about cyber-bullying and how it happens online. Teach him/her to ignore threatening messages. Add your child on Facebook and set up filters on the computer. Place the family computer in the living room so that you and other family members can see when your child is using the computer. Lastly, if you haven't already done it, report the cases of bullying to the school and follow up with a letter if no one has responded yet.
For Parents Of Bullies
1. Stop bullying before it starts. Teach your child about the effects of bullying. Your child may be having trouble reading social signs and are not aware they are hurting other people. Tell your child that bullying has legal consequences.
2. Make sure your home is "bully-free." Your child's behavior often reflects their domestic conditions. Being exposed to aggressive behavior or an extremely strict environment makes kids more prone to engaging in bullying at school. Parents or guardians should show positive behavior, acting as role models for the child.
3. Look for self-esteem issues. Children who feel inferior often engage in bullying to feel better about themselves. Those who seem popular or well-liked can act mean towards others. Parents should look for mean behavior such as these and address the issues that lead to it.