By Samuetta Hill Drew
Over the past couple of weeks, the safety articles have addressed bullying. The first article began with defining the various types of bullying behavior along with each type’s characteristics. The second article addressed how and why parents should have an open conversation with their child on ways to identify bullying behavior. This conversation should include parental coaching on the topic. Also, it discussed the importance of parents becoming knowledgeable of their state’s law and district policies, as well as suggesting the use of age appropriate books now available on the market as a good conversation starter.
It was my initial intent to follow up with two additional articles and put this topic to rest until two recent occurrences. These recent occurrences made me rethink my initial approach on this topic, its importance and timeliness. These two separate occurrences involved an aunt and a grandmother who both were extremely concerned about their niece/grandson being bullied at school. One was being bullied by a classmate and the other by his teacher. Both children were victims of verbal bullying. Both children are currently enrolled in kindergarten, which is an extremely vulnerable stage in a person’s cognitive, physical, emotional and social development. These are very formative years in one’s life. Both parents’ solution was pulling their child out of their present school and enrolling them elsewhere because of the school’s lack of adequate response, in their opinion. This made me rethink my initial approach and decide to extend this subject matter through additional articles hoping to provide parents, grandparents and others some further options and solutions.
Let’s review some possible warning signs your child may be the victim of school bullying:
- Torn, damaged or missing articles of clothing, books, electronics, or other personal belongings
• Unexplained cuts, bruises and/or scratches
• Reluctance or refusal to go to school
• Becomes non-responsive when you attempt to talk about school
• Makes up excuses why they don’t want to go to school
• Demands some type of change in a long-standing routine, such as taking a long out of the way route when walking to or from school or riding the bus, etc. Sometimes you can detect fear from your child regarding walking to and from school or riding the bus the usual way
• Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
• No longer wants to participate in organized activities with their peers or play with old friends
• Drop in grades or a lack of interest in their studies
• Begins to appear sad, moody, angry, teary or depressed when he/she comes home. Frequently wants to be alone
• Is unusually hungry when he/she gets home. Begins asking for more lunch or transportation money
• Starts using bad language
• Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments
• Shows noticeable behavior change after computer time or a phone call
• Has trouble sleeping
• Loss of appetite
• Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteemBeing knowledgeable and aware by Keeping an Eye on Safety on behalf of your child is important, especially in today’s cultural environment. Next week we will discuss possible reasons why your child may not want to talk with you if they are being bullied and alternative ways to assist. Followed by an article on signs to detect if your child is the actual school bully and best practices to address it.