Bullying is an epidemic in the U.S. and a huge problem for vulnerable children and their parents. Children as young as preschool age sometimes develop patterns of bullying behavior and intimidate or even hurt less aggressive children. Bullies can be very good at hiding their antics from teachers and parents and will often wait to harass their victims in less supervised environments like bathrooms, school buses, and bus stops.
Children who are being bullied often don’t report the problem to their parents or teachers. The bully may have threatened to harm them if they tell, or the child may feel deep shame about the bully’s words and actions and fear that they’ll lose the love of the adults around them if they share what’s happened. That’s why parents need to be alert and learn what signs and clues to watch for if they suspect bullying. A child who is being victimized might pretend to be sick to miss school or might try to find a way to avoid riding the school bus. If your child’s property is disappearing or being damaged, you might suspect that a more aggressive child is to blame. If your child seems anxious or moody, ask them if they’re being picked on.
After you’ve talked to your child, report the situation to the school. School administrators, teachers, and social workers are often trained in dealing with bullies and should be your allies. Click here to take this quiz to see how much you understand about dealing with bullies and to learn more on Health IQ.
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