What is bullying?
A bully is a person who intentionally tries to hurt others, whether emotionally or physically. Bullies will try to make others feel uncomfortable – they will hurt them by kicking, hitting, pushing, tripping, name-calling, etc. Bullying can occur in person, via texting and/or online. There are many reasons bullies do what they do. Bullies may think they will get their way or impress their friends with this behavior.
How to react to bullying
Parents and other adults can play an important role in reducing child bullying. It is important to notice what is going on and watch for signs your child is being bullied.
According to medhelp.org, signs that a child is being bullied may include:
- Unexplained injuries
- Lost or destroyed possessions (clothing, books, electronics or jewelry)
- Frequent headaches or stomachaches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
You can help bullied children feel safer by developing a plan to help them:
- Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it.
- Together, go to school faculty to see what can be done in terms of mediation and increased supervision of the school grounds.
- Encourage the child to avoid the child bully and seek help from a teacher or trusted adult when necessary.
- Practice being assertive and asking the bully to leave the child alone.
- Utilize the buddy system. Encourage your child to be with true friends – bullies are less likely to pick on children who are in a group.
About the author
Melissa Moore, LCSW, is the clinical director of Will’s Place, overseeing programs including Will’s Place, DD/TCM, PATH, ACT-TAY and children’s outpatient clinics for the surrounding area. Moore holds a bachelor’s in social work and a master’s in social work. She also has a BCBA respecialization certification and is a licensed clinical social worker.