September Injury Prevention
September injury prevention: protecting your children from bullies
Recent news reports have drawn attention to bullying in our communities. Bullying is an aggressive behavior that is intended to cause harm or distress, occurs repeatedly over time and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying behavior can be verbal or physical such as name calling, teasing or physically hitting or punching. Excluding someone or social separation can be nonverbal or emotional bullying. Bullying is always about power or strength over another person.
How can you recognize if your child is being bullied, and, if so, what do you do? First, always take your child seriously when they complain about being “picked on.” Every person deserves the respect of being heard. Some of the warning signs include:
- Loss of interest in school or sudden dislike after history of enjoying school
- Reduction of interaction with friends; or lack of friends
- Sad and anxious behavior when talking about school
- Development of physical complaints
- Exhibition of fear or concern when going to school
Communication is key when taking steps to discussing possible situations with your child. Encouraging open conversation in your home with your children is the first step to empowerment.
- Praise them for coming forward and sharing their concerns with you. This takes some bravery since they could already be feeling ashamed or embarrassed about the issue.
- Always ask questions, this gives you the full scope of the bullying incident, and it will also help understand fully the dynamics and their affect on your child.
- Pay attention over time to see if symptoms clear or increase. Ask your child about how they feel about their safety at school. Talk about what actions are available to help them feel safer, like eating lunch with a friend.
- Always inform your child’s school. No child should be fearful of going to school, and proper actions must be taken to eliminate the concerns. Schools do not want bullying and are also very likely be working toward solutions.
Keeping children safe is a difficult and timely task, but by putting forth extra effort to protect them from bullying behavor, much heartache and pain can be avoided. Supporting your child in their concerns of bullying can help to prevent other issues, such as anxiety and depression, as your children grow.