As long as there has been people, there have been bullies. For that reason, there are some that feel that there’s not much that can be done about it. The consequences of bullying, though, can be dire, and so it’s really not something to be ignored. Bullying can be seen as early as the preschool year, and it can take a variety of forms.
Physical Bullying: includes physical harm and threats of harm to body and property
Verbal Bullying: may include name-calling and harrassing behaviors
Relationship Bullying: includes excluding someone from a group and spreading rumors
Cyberbullying: the newest form of bullying occurs when a child is harassed, threatened, or otherwise tormented by another child via the internet or other digital technology, such as the cell phone.
The signs that your child could be a victim of bullying include a sudden change in behavior to very depressed or aggressive, coming home with damaged clothing or other items, coming home with physical injuries, or complaining of headaches or stomachaches and not wanting to go to school. These could be symptoms of other problems as well, which is again another reason to keep the communication open with your child. It’s really important to talk to your children about their lives. Ask him or her about school. Some children aren’t especially chatty so some of your questions can be direct. Questions to ask can include, “Who are your friends at school?”, “Is anyone ever mean to you?”. It’s important to keep your questions as open-ended as possible so as not to suggest the answer.
If you find out your child is being bullied, have a conversation with him or her about how to handle the bullying. It’s not wise to encourage physical violence, because that tends to make the problem worse, but a self-defense class could boost self-esteem. If the problem is at school, have a talk with the teacher, and or principal or administrator of the school. You should make it clear that you expect them to address the problem.
There is a great deal of information out there on bullying. Here are some that I’ve found: