Stop bullying: Why you should know the signs

Parents can take steps to reduce or prevent bullying if they know the signs and take action.

In Texas, bullying is considered written, verbal or physical conduct at a school-related or sponsored event that creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student and interferes with their education or disrupts school.

A national effort to reduce the problem – Stop Bullying Now! – defines is as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”

How prevalent is bullying?

According to a 2008 report from the national Center for Education Statistics, 32 percent of students reported being bullied at school.

That can have serious effects. Bullied children are more likely to carry a weapon for protection, get involved in fights, suffer from anxiety and depression and perform poorly in academics.

“Bullying can have lasting effects on children’s feelings of self-worth, and can have a significant negative effect on learning and school performance,” said Dr. Daniel Howard, an ADC pediatrician.

Signs of bullying

Boy clutches knees while sitting

It’s not always easy to tell if a child has been bullied, but signs that could mean a problem include:

  • Lost or destroyed belongings
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Declining grades
  • Sudden loss of friends
  • Self-destructive behaviors

How to respond

It’s important not to ignore a problem. Parents can help stop the problem by stepping in when it’s in progress, stopping it or supporting the person being bullied.

“Early intervention with bullying is very important,” said Dr. Howard.  “I encourage all children to speak with a trusted adult, such as a teacher or parent, as soon as bullying starts, so that it can be stopped immediately. If bullying is observed, it’s important for adults to intervene calmly and respectfully. I recommend that parents discuss any bullying concerns with school officials.”

Stopbullyingnow.org provides step-by-step advice on how to intervene and support kids.

It includes:

  • Listening and focusing on the child
  • Assuring them bullying is not their fault
  • Helping the child create an action plan of how to resolve the situation.

Video above provided by .