Recent studies report that 20% of students, ages 12-18, have experienced some type of bullying in the past year. While this number is certainly startling, the truth is that many other situations of bullying go unreported. If you are the parent or caregiver of a school-aged child, you may be wondering if your child is being bullied at school, online, or during other extracurricular activities.
Signs of Bullying
Bullying situations happen to varying degrees and affect all victims a bit differently. However, there are some signs you can look for that could point to the trauma of being bullied. Watch for signs in your child like:
- Sleep disturbances, whether sleeping more than usual, less than usual or insomnia
- Sudden trouble with grades
- Losing interest in going to school, clubs, or pursuing online hobbies
- Injuries the child struggles to explain
- Negative self-talk
- Physical signs of anxiety, like tapping, wringing their hands, or pacing
- Crying or expressing sadness
- Changes in eating habits, whether eating more than usual, less than usual, or other new patterns
- Self-harm or suicidal ideation
What to Do Next
If you notice signs of bullying, it is first important to recognize that being the victim of bullying is traumatic. Victims can develop post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or more due to the trauma of bullying.
It is important to talk to your child about their bullying experience. Ask them if they are feeling afraid or bullied at school. You might be surprised at how much they will tell you when you ask them directly. Next, talk to the school to see what supports you can put in place to keep your child feeling safe while at school.
You should also get your child involved with counseling. Talking about their trauma, as well as working on coping skills and rebuilding self-esteem can all happen within therapeutic counseling sessions.
At Express Yourself Therapy, our licensed counselor Jason has years of experience working with school-aged children and teens who have been bullied. Using personalized interventions, Jason works with clients to overcome and cope with their bullying experiences.
Call our office today to learn more about Jason’s services and to schedule your first appointment.