THE BLOG

Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied or Is a Bully

10/09/2013 05:29 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Parents are entitled to parent, and in the case of bullying, parental behavior can be the fulcrum on which a child's world sits. Parents must advocate for their child. If you suspect your child is being bullied, go to the authorities, the school principal, the school counselor, psychologist/psychiatrist or the police if need be, and insist that they intervene to remedy the situation. This is actually the most effective way to alleviate the problem. Bullies are into control and power, either from abuse or the need to control. As a result, they are often cowards.

If you suspect your child is a bully, you must still go to the appropriate authorities, recognize and acknowledge the problem. Knowledge is power. Only through knowledge can you get your child the psychological help to stop the cycle of bullying within and teach them the necessary empathy for themselves and others so they can live a happy and healthy life.

The best way to inoculate your child against being a bully or being bullied is to build within them a strong central core, a sense of themselves that can withstand peer pressure. A strong identity and an authentic sense of self is the best way to teach your child how to navigate life's stresses with good coping skills.

Know your child
As with all childhood concerns, it is important for parents to know their child. Parental involvement is key to addressing issues of bullying head-on, and even before they begin.

If you are concerned your child is being bullied, look for the following:

1. Change in patterns
2. Headaches
3. Stomachaches
4. Feigning illness to stay home from school
5. Sadness
6. Depression
7. Withdrawal
8. Free-floating anxiety
9. Moodiness
10. Change in clothing or physical appearance such as hair and make-up
11. Change in friends
12. Spending more time alone, either at home or in their room
13. Look for scratches, scrapes and injuries
14. Rumpled or stained clothing
15. Loss of weight
16. Low self-esteem

If you are concerned that your child might be a bully, look for signs of the following:

1. Aggressive behavior
2. Cyberbullying on the computer
3. Long phone calls
4. Check computers, emails, Facebook
5. Moodiness
6. A need for extra money
7. Need to be popular, powerful and in control
8. Pay attention to your child's friends and cliques, as well as their dates
9. Look for scratches, scrapes and injuries
10. Rumpled or stained clothing
11. Narcissistic behavior
12. Low self-esteem
13. Most importantly, lack of empathy whether for people or animals

Results of Bullying

Bullying can lead to many emotional and physical ailments, included but not limited to:

1. Health problems
2. Sadness
3. Free-floating anxiety
4. Depression
5. Drugs
6. Alcohol
7. Post-traumatic stress disorder
8. Violence
9. Rage
10. Generational problems
11. Suicide

Bullying Prevention Resources

Parents, know that you are not alone in your concern over the growing problems with bullying, and that you don't have to face this issue on your own. If you are concerned and want to learn more, here are some online resources that can help:
StopBullying.gov
National Bullying Prevention Center
National Education Association