Bullying Hurts Parent & Child

I want to tell you about a boy.

This boy always had a smile on his face.

This boy was happy.  He had many friends.

The boy’s family had to move to a different state.

After the move, this same boy became unhappy.  He was made fun of at school.

The kids called him names and treated him unkindly.  He has been broken.  He is lonely with not many friends.

He has been the brunt of bullying.  The boy I speak of is my Son.

Stop Bullying

Image Source: lisarussell.org

As a parent, you never foresee something like this happening to your child.  My Son is an intelligent and good boy.  I would never imagine other boys wanting to be mean to him in any way.  I understand kids who bully don’t usually have a good home life.  However, I still don’t want my child to be subjected to the bullies outrage and frustration.

Last year after speaking to the principal about matters, both my Son and I were put on a safety committee at the school.  The problem is this: the teachers don’t witness the bullying.  The kids do it when the teachers are not around.  At the end of the year last year a boy hit my Son in the face during PE.  This happened while a substitute teacher was sitting in the PE coaches office and was looking at his phone.  If some of the kids had not told their homeroom teacher, I would have never known about the matter.  My Son has learned to suck it up and will not tell anyone when stuff happens to him.  I guess because he worries that if he “tells on” the kids, it will only get worse.

Yesterday, one of my Son’s friends told me some of the football boys were kicking and badgering my Son.  I immediately called the Vice Principal to report the matter.  My Son downplayed the incident, as usual.

I found a really useful website, StopBullying.gov, and it gives the following as warning signs of being bullied:

Being Bullied

  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings (check)
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick (check)
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams (check)
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home (check)
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends (check)
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual (check)

Here, the same website talks about the effects of Bullying:

People Who are Bullied:

  • Have higher risk of depression and anxiety, including the following symptoms, that may persist into adulthood:
    • Increased feelings of sadness and loneliness
    • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
    • Loss of interest in activities
  • Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood.  In one study, adults who recalled being bullied in youth were 3 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or inclinations.
  • Are more likely to have health complaints.  In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
  • Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
  • Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
  • Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

This is serious!  So what do we do?  At this point, my husband & I have both spoken to the vice principal of our Son’s middle school.  {He’s in 7th grade}  However, today my Husband found out from another parent that their Son witnessed the incident at school yesterday.  He told their parents about what happened.  This Mom works for my husband.  Apparently there was a LOT more that happened and there could have been some serious permanent injuries to our Son.

Here is what StopBullying.gov recommends:

What to Do When Bullying Continues or Gets Worse

If the bullying gets worse and you need additional help, consider the following if:

Someone is at immediate risk of harm because of bullying Call the police 911
Your child is feeling suicidal because of bullying Contact the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Your child’s teacher is not keeping your child safe from being bullied Contact local school administrator (principal or superintendent)
Your school is not keeping your child safe from being bullied Contact the State School Department
Your child is sick, stressed, not sleeping, or is having other problems because of bullying Contact your counselor or other health professional Exit Disclaimer
Your child is bullied because of their race, ethnicity, or disability and local help is not working to solve the problem Contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights

Do you think we should involve the police?

I would like your feedback, especially if you have dealt with bullying in your own life.  I am very concerned about my Son’s safety and well being.