Unless you have experienced bullying firsthand, you will never understand how distressing it can be especially when the person who is being bullied is a youngster. Other than being emotionally or physically draining and painful, bullying leaves a mark on the victim that can make the individual depressed and really scarred. The act of bullying should not be tolerated. Since many kids want to simply escape school because of bullying, they will go as far as learning how to get sick or how to fake sick.
Bullying takes on different forms – physical or verbal – and is usually a repeated behavior that is aggressive in nature. When boys do the act, they do it physically through threats and physical abuse. On the other hand, girls who are bullies target the emotional aspect through verbal abuse. Regardless, the end result will always be the same – the bullied victim will feel hurt, helpless, afraid, hopeless, ashamed, and will likely suffer physical damage to the point where his or her health can be affected. In addition, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem will commonly develop.
Children who are bullied are likely to skip, or worse, drop out of school just so they can escape bullies. What is more damaging about bullying is that it is a repeated behavior that can haunt the victim for years; even into adult life. There will always be a fear of when the next bullying episode will take place.
Why Bullying Happens
There are so many reasons why bullies do what they do.
- Environment – Bullying commonly happens in school but it can also start at home. If such an environment does not uphold standards on how to treat people right, bullying will be prevalent and bullies will always be influenced to do the things they do.
- Cultural Differences – This is a very common cause why bullying happens especially when one person thinks he or she is better than the person being bullied. Violence that is often shown in the media can be a great influence as well. Some young people tend to grow up believing that this violence is quite acceptable in society.
- Family Problems – Children who bully tend to be products of a family that is not nurturing and loving.
- Negative Childhood Experience – Ironically, bullies are usually the ones that have had a bad experience in the past and they try to make up for it by inflicting pain on others just so they can feel better about themselves.
- Feeling Superior – Because bullying somehow gives the bully a sense of power, he or she will likely do it over and over because they want to be noticed.
Your Child Can Be Bullied – How to Know?
These days, children will do just about anything to avoid bullies from school. It is never an easy experience and your child might be under a great deal of stress without you, the parent, knowing it. Can your child be bullied? How can you tell? Here are some possible signs that your child may be bullied at school.
- Coming home feeling hungry – Coming home hungry is one sign that your child might be bullied in class. You might dismiss it that your child is just not eating right, does not like the food you packed for him or her, or does not like the food served in the cafeteria. However, it could also be possible that your child comes home hungry because his or her packed lunch was taken away or given away as a bribe for bullies. In addition, your child may have refused to it for fear of being ridiculed about his or her food choice. When your child gets home from school, initiate a conversation about the food you packed or ask about the food service in school.
- Coming home late – It is easy to assume that your child is just hanging out with friends or staying in school late for a project or rehearsal. However, it could also be a sign that your child is being bullied because he or she wanted to have a change of route just to avoid the bullies.
- Choice of clothes – While you may think that your child is simply shy and likes to cover up by wearing full-sleeved shirts, it could be a sign that your child is physically abused in school and only wears such clothing to hide bruises. Children do this type of behavior because, rather than face judgment from parents on why they did not fight back, they would rather cover up the evidence and avoid a conversation on the topic. If you feel that your child is concealing scars and bruises, do not react overwhelmingly. Instead, ask your child what happened in a calm manner and take it from there.
- Damaged personal belongings – Kids can be careless with their things, but having damaged personal belongings can also be a sign of being bullied. Bullied kids can have ripped bags or lost personal items. Some kids give away their things just to bribe bullies or even win a favor. Parents should be aware of their child’s things and keep track of them. This way, they can follow up with the school and to ask what is really going on.
Faking Sickness as a Way to Escape Bullies
While your child could get legitimately sick with flu, you need to be on the lookout. Sometimes, complaints of sickness come more often than you expect. You will be surprised at how clever kids these days can be. They have easy access to information on how to get sick or how to get sick fast. It is funny yet alarming. While most people want to know how to avoid getting sick in order to lead a healthy life, your kid is doing otherwise.
If you are vigilant enough as a parent, you will be in awe at how many articles exist online about tips on how to get sick overnight. Usually, kids come up with smart ideas on how to fake their sickness in order to skip a test they are not ready for, but such excuses is also commonly used to skip school just to avoid bullies.
It is so easy to fake being sick especially if your child is good at it. All he or she needs is to read different articles on the subject and they can easily grasp the idea and apply it. Sometimes, they can be so convincing that it will be hard for you to tell that it is fake. Parents should start being observant about their kids especially when they suddenly lose interest in going to school. As a parent who is well connected to your child, you will be able to feel in your gut that something is just not right. It is your job to find out what is bothering your kid and teach them how to not get sick and not the other way around.
Helping Your Child Deal with Bullying
If you find out for yourself or your child has admitted that he or she is being bullied, take time to listen and offer words of support and comfort. Usually, kids find it hard to tell their parents about the incident for fear of embarrassment and judgment from their parents. At worse, kids may feel that they are to be blamed for why they are being bullied or treated differently. They can also become afraid that their tormentors will find out they have told someone about the bullying.
You need to praise your child once he or she confides in you about the bullying incident. Let your child feel that he or she is not alone on this matter and that bullying does happen. You can also reassure your child that nothing is wrong with them and the real problem lies with the bully. Most importantly, let your child feel that you are supporting him or her in this endeavor and that both of you will work out a solution on how to fix it.
Constant Communication is Key
Constant communication is important so that your bullied kid will not easily fall into depression. The best thing you can do is to be there for them so they will not feel alone and they will have enough reason to continue on and stand up to bullies. This way, your child would never have to research for ways on how to get sick or the like.
You also need to let the school know that bullying takes place on their premises. School administrators should be able to monitor situations like these and take measures on how to prevent these problems from becoming worse. Most schools today have policies and programs against bullying. Moreover, different states have policies regarding bullying. You might want to know more about the different laws in your area.
Bullying can take on several forms and the situations may differ. This means that there is no specific approach that can be effective against bullying. What works for one situation may not be effective in another. The best course of action will depend on several factors – the age of the bully and the victim, how severe the bullying is, and the type of bullying that is being committed. In cases where you have extreme fear for your child’s safety, legal authorities may need to be involved.