As a mother of four wonderful children I do what most parents do, I worry. I have taken as many precautions as I can to make sure that they are safe and well supervised at all times. If I feel there is a dangerous situation then I address it or I remove them from it. Unfortunately I am unable to protect them from everything and there are always going to be times that they will need to think fast and do what is best for themselves. Last year my ten year old, Angela, came home almost everyday with a headache. She would come up with every excuse in the book to not go to school. Now, if that had been my older daughter I would have thought absolutely nothing of it. However, Angie was one who loved going to school. She got excellent grades and was involved in just about every after school activity that there was to be offered. I sat back and watched for a while before interfering. Her grades remained the same but her personality changed dramatically. The very same child that would rush home to do her homework and chores so that she could go outside was now taking her time getting things done and then asking me for more to do. I knew something wasn’t right. Of course I tried to talk to her but I guess her pride got in the way. I noticed that she started to ask her older sister to walk her home from school and she wouldn’t dare be caught outside alone. It got to a point I couldn’t even get her to ride her bike around the block anymore. After weeks of trying to figure it out, I finally decided to give her teacher a call and see if she had any insight as to what was going on. She informed me that there had been some rumors going around school about Angie wearing diapers and wetting the bed. Although those were only rumors and had no truth to them at all it was effecting my daughter in a huge way. Needless to say she was furious with me when she found out that I had gone to her teacher with my concerns but she was also ready to talk. I came to find out that she was being bullied by a few girls in the grade above her. She said that they had followed her home a few times on their bikes while calling her names and throwing candy and other items at her. Well, if you think she was upset for me going to her teacher you can only imagine how bothered I was after hearing this. My first instinct was to find those girls and give them a taste of their own medicine! Hey… Im only being honest here. Because I am an adult and I know better I decided to handle the issue in a more productive and legal way! Long story short, I was able to nip the issue in the bud and my daughter finished out her school year the way she should have, with a free spirit and smiles on her face.
Sadly there are many cases of bullying that go undetected and cause much more severe consequences. In some cases there is intense emotional distress and even physical trauma.
The good news is, there is something you can do about it and signs to look out for. Keep in mind, bullying occurs in all ages. It is not just done to children in elementary and middle school. Believe it or not, sometimes it goes on all they way up until college!
As a parent it is so important to talk to your kids every single day. I don’t mean a simple “ Hey hun, how was your day”? It may not be so interesting to you but listen and try to read between the lines when your child is telling you about all of the little details in his or her day.
Make sure your presence is known to all of the children, teachers and faculty members at your child’s school. The more you are seen, the less likely it is that your child will be a victim of bullying.
Be a good example for your kids. They pick up on a lot more than we realize. When you get angry or upset about something, that is the prime example they will use to act out when they are angry or upset. Remember that the next time someone cuts you off in traffic!
Make sure your child knows what to do BEFORE bullying starts. Tell them how to handle a bully. Make sure they know that there is a big difference in being a “tattle tale” and seeking help when someone is bullying them.
Kids will be kids and their will be arguments over certain things. That is to be expected. Set the limits in your home early and let your child know that there is nothing acceptable about being bullied or bullying.