Bullying: Its Signs and Solutions

Bullying — TV shows, movies, and books portray it in a dramatized form, but it is a serious issue prevalent across all age and people groups. By definition, bullying entails a real or perceived imbalance of power; those in “power” act out in aggression toward the “weaker” individuals. Some of the characteristics of bullying include intimidation, threats, physical violence and verbal abuse. These actions, however, are not the only indications that bullying is occurring. Bullying can encompass a wide array of actions that occur in real life or even online. Wherever it occurs, the fact remains that bullying can come in different forms through different types of people, and it is important to be aware of this issue so that preventative measures can be taken.

Parents have to be aware of the signs that may indicate their child might either be bullying others, or is actually being bullied themselves. Being aware of the signs could help parents, teachers and counselors reach out to the children involved. However, it is key to remember that not all children will display the same kinds of signs, if any.

Children who are being bullied may exhibit a variety of behaviors. Because bullying is characterized by aggression, intimidation, or abuse, some signs of bullying may be subtle, but very revealing. While there are the physical marks, the emotional ones are what to look out for. If your child seems withdrawn, unmotivated, or timid, this may be a result of someone being verbally abrasive or causing some embarrassment and stress for your child.

Those children who are subjecting their peers to acts of bullying may also exhibit key behaviors for parents and other adults to recognize. If your child is exhibiting increased aggression at home or has been frequently getting involved in fights, this could be an indication that they might be showing this type of aggression and defiance towards others around them. Also, be sure to remain attentive to the types of friends your child has; bullying may be encouraged because of the social environment your child is in, so your child might be influenced by friends who engage in acts of bullying.

If these signs, or others like them, are becoming increasingly prevalent in your child’s behavior, they may be an indication of your child being involved in the bullying process. These behaviors may seem uncommon, but be sure to look for patterns and consistency; this will help you recognize overall changes in your child’s demeanor so that you can address the issues as soon as possible. However, the crucial aspect about resolving these issues is to proceed with sensitivity and understanding. There may be several different reasons for your child’s behavior, whether they are being bullied or are the initiators of the bullying.

If you detect signs of bullying, there are ways to address it.

  • Be Aware Being aware and involved of what is going on in your child’s life—at school, at recreational sites, even at home—is an important part of the solution to bullying. Asking your child, “How was school?” every day can be a good method of searching for signs of bullying. Engaging in your child’s day-to-day activities can help you narrow down where problems lie.
  • Be Sensitive Make sure that you maintain a platform of love and support and always keep the communication channels open. Your child may be feeling a whirlwind of emotions and you can find a good way to approach him/her by being sensitive to your child and the situation. Do not demand information from your child as it may cause him/her to withdraw even more. Emphasizing your support in all aspects of his/her life can be helpful and powerful.
  • Be Involved Being involved is not a temporary action—be involved in your child’s life and educational life by remaining in close contact with your child’s teachers and school counselors. Be active and present and seek to be involved. If you encounter a situation where your child is being bullied, talk with your child’s teachers and school counselors. Seek guidance and counseling to best handle the situation.

Bullying can have lasting repercussions in all of the people involved. Children develop their sense of identity and belonging to society throughout their young, adolescent years, so surrounding them with support, encouragement, and guidance is crucial. There are ways to prevent bullying and we, as parents, can all work towards a bully-free world.

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