We all remember that one person in elementary school – the one who constantly teased the smallest girl in the class, or forced the boy who dropped his lunch tray all over himself to relive the moment again and again. That one classmate was a bully, someone who tries to hurt others by making them feel uncomfortable, physically hurting them, calling them names, or spreading rumors. And while some childhood trends come and go, bullying is a trend that, unfortunately, just won’t go away – almost one in three children in grades six through 10 experience bullying. Today’s bullying isn’t limited to the playground, though. Bullying has extended to the digital world as well, infiltrating social media – 35% of children report that they have been threatened online.
Children who bully others often act out because there is a deeper emotional issue, so it’s important to look for the following warning signs that could indicate your child may be the one doing the bullying:
- Your child is easily frustrated, or gets angry quickly. Behavioral problems like aggression and being quick to frustration at home are often indicative of bullying behaviors outside of the home.
- Your child is extremely competitive. Being competitive on the soccer field is fine, but when you find your child is physically or verbally attacking others in order to win, that’s a sign that your child is taking it too far.
- Your child is judgmental of others. Is your child rude to other kids who they deem to be “weird” or just “different?” This could be indicative of bullying.
- Your child blames others for their actions. Rather than taking responsibility for themselves, bullies will point fingers at others as a way to justify their own actions. Have you noticed that your child is able to “talk their way out of it” with skill and ease?
- Your child thinks life is a popularity contest. A recent study found a correlation between higher popularity and increased incidences of bullying. Is your child focused on the number of friends he or she has, social status, or having weekend plans with the “right” crowd?
- Your child is in front of a computer or phone screen 24/7. Cyberbullies spend significantly more time online than their peers (38.4 hours per week versus 26.8 hours).
Now that you know the signs, what can you do if you suspect your child may be involved in bullying? Tune in later this week for part two.