While certain students may be more susceptible to becoming victims of bullying, such as those who are more insecure and anxious than others, it is critical that we realize that all students can be bullied and are capable of bullying others. Whereas boys tend to bully in physical ways (pushing, shoving, fighting), girls are more likely to bully in more relational ways (gossiping and rumor spreading). Both boys and girls victimize others by excluding or shunning others from social groups. This kind of bullying, known as mental or emotional bullying, has effects that can be most damaging and last a lifetime.
If your child exhibits one or more of these warning signs, he/she may be a victim of bullying – physical, verbal or emotional. Be aware that because many children, particularly in the upper elementary and middle school grades, experience shame about being a victim of bullying and may deny that it is happening. Talk with your child to explore further, and do your best to exercise patience.
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns – sleeps too much, too little, is exhausted
- Frequently complains of illness – stomachaches, headaches, panic attacks
- Displays mood swings; cries or is angered more easily than is usual for that child
- Does not want to go to school; avoids school/skips classes
- Feels isolated, alone, sad, rejected, not liked
- Talks of running away or suicide