Back to school can be an exciting time for many kids as they get to see a lot of their friends they haven’t seen all Summer, but it can also be a troublesome time for others who fear being bullied.
It’s a growing problem as some children look to prey on the vulnerabilities of others in an effort to feel better about themselves. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that half of the children in our country’s school system will be bullied at least once during the school years.
Adults know first hand bullying happens, because based on those statistics either you were bullied or you know someone who was, and excessive bullying can lead to some major complications for the bullied, “There have been cases of depression, low self esteem, anxiety, sleep disturbances, appetite disturbances, and this is a huge problem,” said Dr. John McFadden.
Dr. McFadden is with the Department of Family Medicine at Wheeling Hospital and he said kids looking to bully others find those they think might be weak or easy targets, “They pick on the isolated ones, they pick on the weak ones, the small ones, and so forth.”
He added that there are pretty noticeable warning signs that will arise if your child is being bullied at school, “A child that is very calm and all of the sudden is acting very irritably, and perhaps; grouchy – it’s those kinds of character changes that should be an indication that something is wrong.”
But there are some things you can to do to help prevent your from falling victim to the mean kids on the playground:
-Encourage your child to be open with you – Some children might resist being open, because they fear the parent will go to the school and cause a scene and make the situation worse.
-Encourage you child to go to the adults at school and report any bullying.
-Encourage your child to take part in group activities. Children seen as outcasts are usually the ones,bullies go after.
One local law firm is doing their part to try and curb bullying in schools in Ohio, Marshall, and Belmont counties by rewarding those students who have the courage to either stand up to bullies or who bring bullying to the school’s attention.
“We reward,kids with a $500 scholarship and a trip to the Pirate game at the ends of the school year for those people chosen by their peers or teachers as the kids that should receive our anti-bullying award,” said Jim Bordas, co-founder of Bordas and Bordas Attorneys, PLLC.
Now if your child has been the subject of bullying Dr. McFadden offered two pieces of advice, get help for the child starting with a visit to his or her primary care provider and going to the school and respectfully talk with the faculty.
Experts have linked behavior exhibited by bullies to the same behavior shown by wild animals and their prey. It’s also important to know that if no one is reporting the abuse to the right people at school, there is no way for them to address the issue,because they may not know anything about it.