Throughout your children’s school careers, they will likely encounter other children who behave with shocking cruelty toward others. Your child could be the victim of a bully or a witness when his or her classmates are bullied. To help support your child, learn the reasons for bullying, signs your child might be a victim, and what you can do to help.
Why Do Kids Bully?
Here are some reasons why kids bully other children:
- A child lacks attention at home and hurts others to get a reaction. Bullies may have parents who are often absent for work, are divorced, or abuse drugs and alcohol.
- A child has an older sibling who hurts or shows aggression toward him or her, and this child passes that cruel behavior on to others.
- A child has a parent or parents who explode in anger or have a quick temper, and the child models those aggressive behaviors.
- A bully doesn’t understand that the behavior is wrong because it’s what he or she sees at home.
Bullies say their behavior makes them feel stronger or better than their victims. A child often bullies others because of jealousy or to look cool to other kids.
Signs of Bullying
Victims of bullying are often afraid or too embarrassed to seek help. Be vigilant and talk to your child – look for any signs that your child may be the victim of a bully:
- Trouble eating and sleeping
- Injuries you child doesn’t want to explain
- Faking illness to avoid school
- Trouble sleeping or frequent bad dreams
- Regularly “losing” money or other valuables
- Decreased self-esteem
What You Can Do
Take these steps to help stop or prevent your child from being bullied:
Meet with the teacher. Your child’s teacher may not know what’s going on, and sometimes just making him or her aware of the situation can help stop the bullying behavior.
Talk to the child’s parents. If your teacher is unable to resolve the situation or if it’s happening somewhere other than school, enlist help from the child’s parents. Approach them in a non-confrontational manner and make it clear you want to work with them to make the situation better for everyone.
Teach your child to ask for help. When children are afraid, they may not realize it’s okay to ask an adult for assistance. Let your child know it isn’t tattling when he or she is a victim of bullying.
Pediatric Associates of Franklin is committed to helping families maintain physical and emotional health. If you’re worried about your child, we offer resources, education, and consultations. Visit our symptoms and illness library or make an appointment today.