Bullying

Bullying is aggressive behavior that is done to intentionally cause harm. It’s not done in fun and is not accidental.  Often this behavior is repeated over time and can take many forms such as: hitting, teasing or name-calling, intimidation through gestures, social exclusion, and exploitation by pictures or information using cell phones the Internet (also known as cyberbullying).

If you suspect your child is being bullied, the most important thing you can do is to support your child, then inform others and take some action.

  • Be supportive and show your child you care. Ask lots of questions and collect as much information as you can.
  • If the situation is happening at school, contact your child’s teacher and/or principal. Ask if anyone else has witnessed this bullying behavior towards your child.
  • Take action now if you know your child is being bullied. Nothing is worse than doing nothing and it can seriously effect your child’s future behaviors.

Bullying is very prevalent- about 25% of all students will experience some form of it. Unfortunately, this harmful behavior can go undetected by adults for many reasons. The action could be taking place in an area that is not well supervised by adults, it can be subtle behaviors that we don’t pick up on, or most importantly, it’s because children and youth don’t often report it.  They fear retaliation by the bully or embarrassment for seeking help.  They also fear that adults won’t take them seriously or act inappropriately to the situation.

Did you know that you can block the use of facebook, texts, and phone calls? Take control of your children’s social networking by calling your cell or internet providers today and learn about these monitoring tools.

Know the warning signs your child is giving off. You might not always know what is going on with your child. They may be too embarrassed to tell you, or maybe they are trying to seem grown-up by trying to deal with the problem by themselves.  Talk to them. Let them know you will listen without judgment.   NEVER tell your child to ignore the problem!

Look for:

  • Changes in behaviors- is sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home.
  • Complaints of physical ailments increases- such as headaches or stomachaches.
  • Changes in sleeping habits- either having trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams.
  • Changes in appetite- either loss of it or increased eating- especially junk food.
  • Loss of interest in school or grades that begin to slide.
  • Increased sensitivity, appearing anxious or suffering from low self-esteem.
  • Decreased social time or alienating  friends.
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or scratches.

SAFELine is an effective way for adults to identify and seek help for students that may be giving off “early warning” signs of trouble.  When a student is in need of support, SAFELine staff will work quickly to network with school professionals, law enforcement, parents, and other community resources to amend the crisis through counseling and referrals. Through this process, we hope to prevent suicides, assaults, abuse, bullying, and other crises faced by youth.

Other websites that are great resources:

http://www.usdish.com/teen-internet-safety#cyberbullying