Juggling homework, chores, extra-curricular activities and the seemingly-constant need for peer approval provide children with enough challenges – without the added pressure of false rumors and intentional elbows from the class bully.
“Bullying, by definition, is a deliberate act that is either of some kind of injury or aggression by a person or persons toward another person with the intent to cause harm or upset them.” said Sarah Adams, MD, of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Streetsboro office.
She noted several signs that a child may be the victim of a bully, including a greater-than-normal desire to miss school, dropping grades, moodiness and a loss of enthusiasm for activities your child usually enjoys.
Presented with these signs, Dr. Adams advises parents to sit down and talk with their child.
“Be 100 percent behind your child. Let them know that it is not their fault that they are being bullied,” said Dr. Adams. “Listen to them. You can ask questions, but then take the time to listen and find out what’s really going on.”
Clear, timely communication with a child’s teachers, counselors and others is also critical if the bullying is taking place at schools, day cares or other environments where it would be beneficial for an adult to intervene.
Since many victims have trouble with self esteem, Dr. Adams suggests that parents take reasonable measures to boost their child’s image of herself, such as encouraging her to volunteer or become involved in new activities, or offering appropriate praise.
Dr. Adams also offers several additional strategies to prevent further abuse in the following video.