Warning Signs of Bullying
Within the last week, bullying has again been in the national news. Although, the unusual aspect to this story is that it involves professional athletes from the Miami Dolphins.
Rookie Jonathan Martin received numerous racist voicemails that allegedly came from one of his teammates, fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito. Martin decided to quit the team in order to make the harassment stop. The unfortunate part is that he never told his coaches the real reason that he left the team. (His agent contacted the Dolphins after he quit.) Martin was worried that complaining about being bullied might damage his NFL career and lead to retribution.
If a professional athlete is scared to tell his team management that he is being harassed, how can we expect children to tell their parents when they are being bullied at school, on the playground or on their sports teams? Parents and caregivers need to recognize the warning signs.
To ensure our children remain safe from bullying, I want to share these tips from StopBullying.gov.
Signs a Child is Being Bullied
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs. Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide. If your child is feeling hopeless, helpless or knows someone who is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you have determined bullying has occurred, learn how you and school or community officials can work together to support your child - whether the child has been bullied or witnessed bullying. Also, learn about considerations for specific groups.
Bullying is a serious issue that needs children, parents, educators and community officials to combat and de-stigmatize.
For additional tips concerning how to prevent bullying, visit www.StopBullying.gov.
For additional information concerning Fitness for Health, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org.