Signs of bullying: What parents should look for
Experts give tips, advice to help parents
Last Updated: 99 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Now that students have a few weeks of school behind them, it is important for parents to pay close attention to their children’s behavior. Experts said the way they act could reveal signs of bullying or tip parents off if their child is a bully.
Paul, a junior at Southport High School, said he has already been beaten up on the school bus and picked on for being gay.
"Every time I was called a fag, every time I was called numerous names, it would hurt me, but I'd let it go because I mean, what could I do about it," Paul said.
Over the last couple of years, Paul said he kept much of the harassment to himself, but his mother, Sunshyne, could sense something wasn't right with her son, but couldn't get him to talk about it.
"He would run up the stairs to his room and just shut himself off. And like I said, I tried to reach out to him and he would just... 'No mom, I'm fine. No mom, I'm fine," Sunshyne said.
Now Paul admits he's anything but fine.
Two years of constant bullying has left him anxious about going to school, and experts said that's one of the things parents should be on the lookout for as a sign their child is being bullied.
"Withdrawal, kind of that hopeless feeling that we see from students, increased anxiety about going to school, possibly about being scared of riding the school bus..." Dr. Brandie Oliver with the Butler University Counseling program said.
Oliver said bullied students will often complain of headaches or stomachaches -- more signs of anxiety.
Experts said parents especially need to watch for a pattern of change in their children.
"When you start to notice something, don't let it go. Parents have a great gut instinct, listen to that gut instinct and continue to ask questions," Oliver said.
When Paul got off the bus last month with cuts on his lips and a swollen neck, his mother didn't have to wonder anymore whether her son was being bullied.
"My child was strangled. I have proof of that from him going to the hospital. I have proof with pictures, not only from us, but from the police department," Sunshyne said.
Sunshyne said her son’s bully has gone unpunished, and that’s exactly why Paul said he didn’t speak up sooner.
"Honestly because I didn't think anything would be done. Not by my mom, but by the school," Paul said.
A spokeswoman for Perry Township Schools said they addressed the situation by changing the bus routes so Paul and the other student wouldn’t be riding together. Officials said they have daily contact with both students.
Experts also have signs for how parents can tell if their child is a bully:
-They might have underdeveloped social, emotional awareness or interpersonal skills.
-They might also have a lack of empathy.
-Bullies also like to have power or control in social situations.
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