Looking for Signs of Bullying

With growing concern from parents over school bulling, the World Journal reports on how to spot signs that a child is being victimized and how to deal with it. The article below was translated from Chinese.

School are supposed to be a place for students to grow up healthy and happy.  But the violence in schools makes young children feel helpless and hurt.  Education experts urge parents, especially recent immigrant parents, to be proactive in helping their children adjust to the new environment. Parents should work with school officials to look after their children. Observing children and paying attention to them allows parents to identify early signs of bullying.

The president of the Chinese Parents Association, Pauline Chu, said violence in school has increased over the years. Although the trend is unsettling, it has also raised unprecedented attention to school bullying.

Once school violence occurs, it brings a lot of pain, physically and emotionally, to children, and can lead to depression. First, it is important for parents to be involved in their children’s lives, making them feel secure. Parents should not leave the responsibility of caring for their children solely in the hands of the school.

Second, parents should grow and learn with their children and attend educational workshops on preventing school violence. They can use the Internet to learn more about prevention. The New York Department of Education has resources in Chinese. Parents should make full use of all resources available to provide good guidance to their children. In addition, children who have experienced bullying should not hide the truth, because it only makes it worse. If they are hurt, children should immediately speak with their teachers and seek professional help to relieve their stress and maintain good mental health.

To learn how to detect signs of school bullying, DNAinfo’s website provides professional advice and feedback. According to Jessie Klein, the author of “The Bully Society,” the most common signs are depression and irritation. Children might seem nervous, angry, or sad. If children start to resist or avoid participating in school or family events — that may be a sign.

Kevin Dahill-Fuchel, executive director of Counseling in Schools, said bullied children often can’t wait to leave school. They may also be scared to leave school. If your child goes from outgoing to introverted, or if your child only wants to be alone and refuses to be close to friends and family, this may be a sign. In addition, some children remain quiet after being bullied. However, some children do the opposite — they become particularly chatty about their friends. Parents must learn to discern whether these are real signs of bullying.

Dahill-Fuchel suggests that if parents suspect a child is being bullied, they should first be good listeners and allow the child to talk freely. They should communicate directly with the children.  They should not tell the child to retaliate, as that is not an effective solution.  Children should go to their teachers and counselors. The parents of both children involved in a bullying incident should not argue with each other, as that can only aggravate the problem. They should ask the school to mediate. In addition, parents should encourage children to participate in activities and build new friendships, to put the bullying incident behind them.

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