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 What is bullying?
Bullying is repeated acts by an individual or group with the intent to scare, distress, or cause harm to another. It differs from simply disliking or rejecting another, mutual conflict, or a single-episode mean-spirited act.
Bullying behaviors include any of the following:
• Hostile or discriminatory behavior based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
• Cyberbullying, which is the use of social media, websites, instant messaging, or texting via smartphones or computers to harass or harm another
• Causing physical harm by hitting, kicking, shoving or destroying property
• Social bullying, such as spreading malicious rumors, damaging someone’s reputation, encouraging others to gang up on someone, or playing mean or embarrassing jokes
• Verbal bullying, which includes name-calling, intimidating, or insulting another
Kids keep it a secret
Often, children don’t tell when they’re being bullied. As a result, the bullying persists for months or longer and becomes increasingly more damaging.
There are multiple reasons kids might not tell an adult:
• Perhaps a child has been threatened with repercussions if they tell, or the child fears the threat will become greater if they say anything.
• They don’t want to be a tattletale. Kids don’t always understand the difference between tattling for unimportant matters versus more serious issues.
• Children often feel ashamed or embarrassed either about being a victim of bullying or about the reason they’re being bullied. This is often the case when the bully has used name-calling or character attacks.
• They feel they either won’t be believed or that adults won’t do anything about it.
Signs of bullying
There are several signs to be aware of that might indicate your child is being bullied:
• Frequently tries to get out of going to school or has declining grades
• Complaints of stomach aches and headaches • Feeling sad or upset
• Social withdrawal
• Difficulty sleeping
• Asking whether something derogatory someone said about your child is true or other signs of decreased self-esteem
• Unexplained bruises or abrasions
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