Friday, September 14th, 2018

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones,
But Words Will Never Hurt Me…

Not True: words can and do hurt. Just ask any child (or any person) who has been harassed or ridiculed by peers.

As kids are starting a new school year, we want to ensure that they are returning to a safe environment where they are not being intimidated or bullied by others. It’s important that parents, teachers, and students all take part in eliminating this disturbing behavior.

Sometimes kids are simply mean or rude. But recognizing when mean behavior turns into bullying is imperative. defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

Common ways that children bully others include:

  1. Physically shoving, punching or hurting someone
  2. Purposely ignoring someone or leaving someone out of a group
  3. Ganging up on someone physically or with words – or even mean looks or stares
  4. Teasing, harassing, being inconsiderate or spreading rumors
  5. Cyberbullying: sending hurtful text messages, and posting pictures or unkind messages on sites or social networks

It’s not uncommon for bullied children to hide the fact that they are being mistreated. While not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs, parents can look for signals that may point to bullying:

  • Lost or destroyed clothing or possessions
  •  Frequently feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

There are steps parents can take if their child is being bullied and things kids can do if they are being bullied or see others being bullied.

Children who bully others may have low self-esteem or are easily pressured by peers. Teachers, counselors, and parents of kids who bully others can try to understand the cause of bullying and provide support to help change their behavior.

Bullying can have lasting physical and emotional consequences for children. Please be aware of the signs of bullying. Talk openly about the issue and take steps to protect any child that is being harmed or harassed.

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