If you’re a parent, it’s good to watch out for signs of bullying in your children. If your kid comes home with missing books or damaged possessions, starts to struggle with sleeping, loses interest in their favorite activities, or comes home hungry every day (because they’re avoiding the cafeteria), they may be suffering at the hands of a bully. They may fake illness to get out of school, or their academics may start to suffer.
These are all signs that it’s time to have a heart-to-heart talk with your child, even if their changed behaviors don’t end up being a reaction to bullying.
On the flip side, if your kid starts acting more aggressively, starts hanging out with kids who seem like bullies, stops taking responsibility for his/her actions, or appears to have extra money or possessions, your child may be participating in bullying behavior.
Child bullies may be using bullying as a coping mechanism for stress or anger. Victims of child bullies need to be taken seriously and treated for the stress and trauma that bullying has caused.
Regardless of your child’s “role” (bullied or bully) parents, teachers, and possibly counselors need to be involved in order to get to the root of what is causing the bullying so that it can stop. Problems are only going to get worse for both the bully and the bullied; it’s best to address them sooner rather than later.
For teenagers and young adults, it’s, unfortunately, more in their hands to do something about it. College campuses, for example, can experience high volumes of bullying, sometimes in the form of “pledge week” and other times just targeting the student who is “different”.
Talk to your teachers, professors, or a counselor if you’re experiencing or witnessing bullying. High School and College are meant to be safe places to learn and grow into a healthy adult; you don’t deserve to be bullied, and it shouldn’t be condoned.