In recent years, society has witnessed an alarming increase in the degree and frequency of school violence. Parents and caregivers have growing concerns for the safety of children in school settings and this has brought more attention to the issue of bullying. Current statistics show that approximately 28% percent of students in grades K-12 have been a victim of bullying. Almost a third of high school students report they have at one time or another bullied another student.
Bullying is more than children being mean to one another. It involves aggression, a power dynamic, consistent or repeated behavior and intention to hurt or harm. There are four common forms of bullying: physical, verbal, relational and cyber. Physical bullying involves behaviors like hitting kicking, or pushing. Verbal bullying often includes name-calling, insults, threats and relentless teasing, while relational bullying can involve peer exclusion, spreading rumors or intimidation. Cyber bullying has become a particular concern, and research shows it affects approximately 43% of children who use text messaging, social media and other online forums. Many children who are cyber-bullied are also victims of bullying at school. Children who look or act “different” or are part of a minority group (based on race, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, etc.) are at higher risk of being bullied.
Signs of Bullying
Studies have shown that parents are only aware about 50% of the time when their child has experienced, or is experiencing, bullying. Here are some signs to watch for:
Physical symptoms: unexplained injuries, frequent headaches or stomach aches, changes in appetite, dizziness
Psychological symptoms: irritability, anxiety, sadness, changes in sleep patterns, loneliness, feelings of helplessness
Social symptoms: limited or few friendships, isolation, social avoidance behaviors
If you are concerned your child may be the victim of bullying, there are some steps you can take. First, talk with the child. Try to understand the situation, the history and what type of bullying has occurred. If the bullying took place at school, contact the principal or other appropriate school personnel to discuss safety measures and efforts to stop the bullying. Finally, consider contacting a mental health professional for your child to talk to. Bullying can have multiple negative outcomes including the development of substance abuse, academic difficulties or even dropping out of school and mental health issues like anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Victims of bullying are also sometimes at risk for reactive bullying, where the victim then becomes a bully in an effort to demonstrate power or strength.
Bullying can affect everyone
How Crosswinds can help
Crosswinds offers both in-home and in-office counseling services by well-trained mental health professionals who are eager to help your child rediscover their strengths, cope with the impact of bullying stress and heal from the pain of those experiences. Our therapeutic services also support parents and caregivers in their efforts to establish a safe, loving environment and positive relationship with their child.
For additional information about the help and support Crosswinds can offer to victims of bullying, or children who have become the bully, please contact us: