October is National Bullying Prevention Month - Bullying...it’s unacceptable

It’s that time of year again! The smell of fall in the air, leaves falling, the anticipation of the upcoming holidays, but most of all returning to school for another year of sports, friends and new adventures! You can feel the excitement!

Unfortunately, along with the new and good come the reality that many of our children are being bullied each day. There is the feeling of helplessness facing another year and being powerless to be able to stop this abuse.

A bully can turn something like going to the bus stop or recess into a nightmare for kids. Bullying can leave deep emotional scars, and in extreme situations, it can involve violent threats, property damage or someone getting seriously hurt. Bullying is intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. It can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling, threats and mocking to extorting money and possessions. Some kids bully by shunning others and spreading rumors about them. Others use social media or electronic messaging to taunt others or hurt their feelings.

Many times, the parents are unaware of the situation, and the parents that are aware of this problem aren’t exactly sure what to do. Is it really new, or simply being reported more often? Either way, parents need to be aware of the stress that today’s children of all ages face. It’s important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that kids have to “tough out.” The effects of bullying can be serious and affect kid’s sense of safety and self-worth. In severe cases, bullying has contributed to tragedies such as suicides and school shootings.

Some of the signs that may point to a bullying problem are:

1. Unexplained injuries

2. Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry.

3. Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness.

4. Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating.

5. Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.

Bullying can impact how well your child does in school, their ability to make friends and can have an effect on them for many years. There are many organizations that are advocates against bullying, please seek help if you feel your child is experiencing this abuse.