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  • Your Child Can Fall Victim To Bullying That Is Not Loud Or Physical

    Take note of the signs that might tell you your child is a victim of bullying.
    by Aimee Panlilio .
Your Child Can Fall Victim To Bullying That Is Not Loud Or Physical
PHOTO BY iStock
  • What is bullying? When can one say that he or she is bullied? How do children react to it?

    In Wikipedia, bullying is defined as the use of force, coercion, or threat. It aims to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate, and it is repeated aggressive behavior. Students who are bullied often feel threatened and powerless.

    At the back of our minds, we think that bullying is often loud and demonstrates destructiveness. This is true, but it can also be difficult to analyze or recognize. Since bullying can have damaging effects such as long-lasting psychological, emotional, and physical problems, it is of great significance that teachers and parents know how to identify the signs of bullying and learn how to fight against it.

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    Types of bullying

    Bullying in schools has been a systemic and perineal problem, and there are many types. Direct bullying is a combination of both verbal and physical bullying. Verbal bullying involves spoken comments or written information directly delivered that is emotionally damaging to the targeted individual. Physical bullying consists of physically harming a student or their possessions.

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    My son was a victim of physical bullying — he was punched in the stomach by his classmate. The experience was made even sadder when one of the school’s personnel told my son not to tell me about it. What was worse, he belonged to the management!

    I did not want my son in a school that tolerated bullies. I raised my concern with the school principal, who eventually “passed the responsibility” to the school director. The offender and his guardian were summoned to the school immediately. But after I met with them, I transferred my son to another school after that year without second thoughts. I couldn't accept an organization that would condone hiding such an issue. The school and its administration should arbitrate in situations like this to put a stop to bullies.

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    Any child can be a victim of bullying. It is easy to think only the quiet and nerdy types of children are bullied since they usually do not speak up. But a child with a strong personality can still get bullied. Even someone who used to be your friend can eventually be the bully you had never dreamed of.

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    Such had been the case for my stepdaughter. She never imagined that one of her best buddies whom she told her secrets would eventually turn out to be her worst nightmare. This so-called friend engaged in indirect bullying by spreading rumors about my stepdaughter, tainting her reputation. It was supposedly because of a misunderstanding, common among teenagers and could have been dealt with if there was an actual conversation. It affected my stepdaughter so much it led her to attempt self-harm. (In this case, her school administration was better at handling the bullying situation.)

    Bullying does not stop in schools; it is now rampant on the internet, especially on social media platforms. A common form of cyberbullying is sharing someone’s private photos or videos without her consent. This form of bullying is more insidious and often takes place outside school grounds, so it is more difficult for teachers to detect and address. Just like cyberbullying, social or relational bullying is when other people gossip or spread rumors to hurt the reputation of others that are being bullied.

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    Signs your child may be bullied

    It is hard to tell if our kid is being bullied because many kids do not tell anybody. You have to watch closely for these signs. 

    Changes in behavior

    Take notice if your child is suddenly reluctant to go to school or doesn’t want to join the kids who used to be their playmates. Changes in his mood and behavior at home suggest there is something wrong.

    Psychosomatic signs

    Children who are being victimized may complain of headaches and stomach aches, especially in the morning. Young children may become clingy with their parents, whereas older children tend to isolate themselves.

    Isolation

    Staying most of the time inside their room when they usually mingle with their siblings can be a red flag of bullying. Their room has been their sanctuary, and they feel protected and secured if they stay in there.

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    Once we become aware that our child is a victim of bullying in school, the best step to take is to talk with the school administration. Calling the other child’s parents may be our first instinct, but in many cases, that’s the worst strategy. Experts recommend that parents listen to their child, without letting their own emotions run high, and calmly ask about the facts.

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    But children tend to tell only partial truths to parents, especially in cases when they were the instigator. Often, when two sets of parents hear different stories from their kids, each parent is going to feel like it was their child who was the target. But when school administrators like the principal or guidance counselor talk with their students, the case is different. They usually tell the whole story.

    We may not be able to eradicate bullying in schools totally. But we should at least step up and provide our children with an environment that is safe and conducive for learning.

    Unfortunately, kids who are being bullied don't want to talk about their ordeal, even with their parents. Click here to learn more.

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