As parents, we all want our kids to be happy and get along with everyone at all times. However, the reality is that sometimes children experience bullying. In order to address this problem, the US Department of Health and Human Services has instituted the National Bullying Prevention Month in October. One of the first steps in preventing aggressive behavior is knowing the signs of bullying.

What are the Signs of Bullying?

Bullying is defined as “unwanted aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.” It can take the form of threats, physical attacks, social exclusion, spreading rumors, and verbal assault. The aggressive behavior is repeated over a period of time and can have long-lasting effects on both parties.

10 Signs Your Child is Being Bullied

Seeing your child hurt, either physically or emotionally, is one of the most heartbreaking parts of being a parent. You want to protect them and keep them safe and happy. So, being familiar with the signs of bullying is a good idea so you can intervene if your child needs help.

Signs a child is being bullied can include:

  • They have unexplained injuries
  • They lose interest in schoolwork and their grades decline
  • They try to avoid school or participating in activities they used to love. They may try to fake sickness to get out of these activities
  • They avoid socializing and seem to have lost their friends
  • Their eating habits change (lose their appetite or start binge eating)
  • They have nightmares or sleep disturbances
  • They frequently have stomach aches, headaches, and other physical signs of anxiety
  • Their belongings (school supplies, clothing, electronics, toys, etc) are lost or destroyed
  • They express feelings of helplessness or low self-esteem
  • They show self-destructive behaviors like self-harm, running away, or mentioning suicide

If your child is part of a minority group including both race and sexual identity or orientation, please pay close attention for warning signs as these children have a much greater chance of being bullied. There are some good counselors and support groups in Jacksonville available. Also, consider the reality of cyber bullying. Social media and interactive video games are places where kids can be bullied, They should be randomly checked and monitored for such behavior.

If your child – or any other child you know – talks about taking their own life, you need to take steps immediately to help them. Taking your child to the emergency room is important for their ability to get immediate intervention and help.

It’s best to exercise an abundance of caution in these situations and intervene early instead of waiting for further warning signs. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

10 Signs Your Child Might Be Bullying Others

No parent wants to think of their child as a bully. Unfortunately, sometimes kids do engage in behavior that causes harm to their peers. If you see any of the below signs of bullying in your child, you need to address their behavior, both for the wellbeing of your child and the child they’re bullying. If your child is being a bully, then that’s a sign that something else is wrong with them that needs to be addressed.

Signs your child may be bullying other children may include:

  • They have a positive attitude towards violence
  • They get into physical and/or verbal fights a lot
  • They’re more impulsive or aggressive
  • Their friends are engaging in bullying
  • They don’t show empathy to other children who are bullied
  • They show defiance and aggression towards teachers, coaches, and other authority figures
  • They always blame others for their problems
  • They’re overly concerned with their popularity or reputation
  • They’re overly competitive
  • They have money or new belongings without explanation

Addressing Bullying

Once you know the signs of bullying, you need to be aware of the resources that are available to help you navigate the situation. Professional help may be needed and is available through school counselors if the bullying is taking place at school. Your pediatrician is also a great resource if you are having issues with bullying because they can give you guidance and provide you with resources. They can also give you referrals to other professionals like therapists or counselors that are trained specifically in these issues. For a list of what resources are available for different situations, go to stopbullying.gov.

Make an Appointment

The team at Carithers Pediatric Group is here to provide comprehensive care for your children at all stages of life. During this time, the safety of your family and our team members is of the utmost importance. Please read the Carithers Coronavirus Emergency Action Plan to stay up-to-date on our policies. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, call our Riverside office at (904) 387-6200 or our Southside office at (904) 997-0023.