Remember Our Gang? You know, the Little Rascals? One thing that stands out from the show is a schoolyard bully named Butch. He loved to get his way through intimidation, but in the end, it was the good guys who came out on top. While that was Hollywood, unfortunately when it comes to bullying, the good guys don’t always win. Gone are the days of the “simple” schoolyard bully. Today bullying in schools has taken so many shapes and forms that the U.S. Department of Education found several key factors in bullying:
- Bullying involves intentional, and largely unprovoked, efforts to harm another
- Bullying can be physical or verbal, and direct or indirect in nature
- Bullying involves repeated negative actions by one or more against another
- Bullying involves an imbalance of physical or psychological power
Unfortunately today, childhood bullies are causing self-esteem issues that can resonate through life. Children that are overweight tend to have lower self-esteem and cannot complete physical requirements put on them at school as well as their schoolmates that do not carry the extra weight. This makes them an easy target for other kids to make fun of them and treat them with disrespect on a regular basis.
Another problem with bullying comes from the demands that girls have on their physical appearance from media, parents and a child’s own self-image. Girls that don’t fit society’s created look of women, tend to be ridiculed and suffer more abuse from peers, than those that work to “fit the mold”.
With bullying coming in all shapes and sizes, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have put together a list of signs that your child may be being bullied:
- Depression, loneliness, or anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Health issues: Headaches, stomach aches, tiredness, or poor eating habits
- Missing school, disliking school, or having poorer school performance than previously
- Self-destructive behaviors, such as running away from home or inflicting harm on oneself
- Thinking about suicide or attempting to commit suicide
- Unexplained injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
As we move forward in combating this growing problem in our society, we need to empower children to believe in themselves, want to build a healthy body and teach them that each body has its own shape and beauty. Where is the best place to teach this? With you! There’s no better role model than you. Spend time with your kids. Play, laugh, have fun and make wise choices together. Stay involved, be aware of what is going on. If you feel something is wrong in your heart, it probably is. If you’re concerned, take action and talk to your child and even the school officials. Do not wait till it boils over. Be the parent and the person your kids can depend on to be there for them.
Wishing you Peace, Love, Laughter!