Watching your children succeed in school is rewarding. What happens when your child dreads going to school? There could be a few reasons why children would rather not be at school, especially after summer fun. In case it is more than the back-to-school blues, it is important to be aware of the under-recognized yet wide-spread social issue of bullying.
Bullying can take place in various forms—physically, emotionally, psychologically, and now, takes place more and more online (it’s called cyber bullying). The truth is, bullying can affect your child’s health and academics. Children who are bullied are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and decreased academic achievement.
Watch this video to get an insight into the world of bullying. This short film was created by Project AHEAD interns to bring to light the effects of bullying.
Bullying can be an especially devastating problem in the Asian American community. With a combination of cultural values, stigma, and lack of knowledge on bullying—Asian American kids may be less likely to report bullying. Many wouldn’t think that name calling and teasing are serious behaviors of bullying. Also, being bullied is sometimes viewed as being weak, which makes reaching out an incredibly difficult thing to do.
How do you know if your child is being bullied at school?
Sometimes is hard to tell if your child is being bullied or not if they do not tell you. However, there are some signs you can look out for. Keep an eye open for unexplained injuries; unexplained loss of belongings; fear of going to school; if your child is suddenly sullen and withdrawn; or if they lose interest in things they once enjoyed.
So what should you do now?
There are ways that you can help your child prevent bullying.
- If your child is bullied on the way to school, choose a different route or ask someone to escort them.
- If the bully is taking your child’s belongings, tell your child not to bring valuable things to school.
- If bullying is happening online, suggest that your child block the bully. Do not erase threatening messages, pictures or texts, since they are evidence if needed.
- Help your child act brave! Advise them not to fight back to avoid trouble and so no one gets hurt. Advise them to stay calm, walk away and ignore the bully. It is always best to leave the situation and tell an adult.
- If you worry about your child’s safety, tell your school teacher or principal, or report to the police. Get a written record of the incident.
And whether or not your child is a victim of bullying, encourage them to safely stand up and speak out against bullying. Want to give them some tips on this? Show them this video.
Written by Selina Yang. Selina is studying Biochemistry at Stony Brook University, and has an interest in medicine and public health advocacy. She was a 2014 Project AHEAD intern at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center.