Sue Scheff: How to know if your child is bullied

Get ready for Dr. Michele Borba's BIG Book of Parenting Solutions, releasing just in time for school. Here is another sneak peak about a very important topic, bullying.

REALITY CHECK: Research finds that 49 percent of kids say they’ve been bullied at least once or twice during the school term, but only 32 percent of their parents believed them.

By Michele Borba

Those school doors will be opening soon and excitement is in the air. But many kids may not be sharing that excitement and in fact may be a bit jittery. And they have good cause. One study found that one out of every four children will be bullied by another youth in school this month. If your child is bullied, it means that peers are intentionally causing him pain.

Reports also confirm that bullying is starting at younger ages and is more frequent and aggressive that ever before. Do know that if your child is bullied chances are he or she did NOTHING to cause it. Bottom line: bullying behavior must be taken very seriously.

Your first step to helping your son or daughter is to know the warning signs that your child may be bullied and needs your support. If your child complains of being taunted, picked on, or threatened by a peer, please take him seriously. Unfortunately, however, chances are that if your child is bullied, he won’t tell you. He may be embarrassed, doesn’t want you to be involved in the situation or feel you won’t take him seriously. So watch for the changes in your child’s typical behavior.

Signs and Symptoms of Bullying (pg. 324 Big Book of Parenting Solutions)

•Unexplained physical marks, cuts, bruises and scrapes, or torn clothing
•Unexplained loss of toys, school supplies, clothing, lunches, or money
•Afraid to be left alone: doesn’t want to go to school; afraid of riding the school bus; wants you there at dismissal, suddenly clingy
•Suddenly sullen, withdrawn, evasive; remarks about feeling lonely
•Marked changed in typical behavior or personality
•Physical complaints; headaches, stomachaches, frequent visits the school nurse’s office
•Difficulty sleeping, nightmares, cries self to sleep, bed wetting
•Begins bullying siblings or younger kids
•Waits to get home to use the bathroom
•Ravenous when he comes home (lunch money or lunch may be stolen)
•Sudden and significant drop in grades; difficulty focusing and concentrating
Follow Michele Borba on Twitter at @MicheleBorba

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