Law Firms Foster a Dialogue About Bullying in Ottawa

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9 Signs That Your Child May be a Victim of Bullying at School

Rare is the person who has not experienced bullying-aggressive, harmful, intentional (and relentless) behaviour that causes ongoing pain and distress. Law firms know better than most the staggering number of people who have struggled with being bullied at some point in their lives. It’s not a new phenomenon, and, despite ongoing efforts to control it and to protect children from experiencing it in schools, it probably won’t cease to exist.

Unfortunately some children and adolescents act out in ways that are cruel, while others suffer the negative consequences. Many legal teams in Ottawa have witnessed the severe emotional harm that bullying can cause, and how it can erode one’s long term mental health.

Despite the efforts of many loving, connected and involved parents, victims of bullying too often keep their pain to themselves, even in highly communicative families. Ongoing distress, however, does eventually show itself in one way or another. Here are nine signs that your child may be experiencing bullying at school:

  1. An obvious change in normal behaviour or personality for no apparent reason. This can include acting sad, angry, anxious, moody, or even sullen and withdrawn for an ongoing period of time.
  2. An onset of, or increase in, fearfulness. This can include new fears of being around people, being alone, or even of participating in previously enjoyed activities.
  3. Poor school performance and fewer friends-or even a lack of desire to see friends-are significant red flags of distress at school.
  4. A change in eating habits. Uncharacteristic over or under eating can be indicative of a child struggling with anxiety due to bullying.
  5. A change in sleeping habits, including too much sleep, a lack of ability to relax and get to sleep, waking up repeatedly in the night, and having nightmares.
  6. An onset of-sometimes vague-physical complaints, particularly headaches and stomach aches.
  7. The appearance of unexplainable physical marks, such as cuts or bruises. A child may also attempt to hide such marks.
  8. A happy child becoming a bully themselves to younger and weaker children, often siblings.
  9. The development of severely negative talk, such as talk of running away, or even suicide.

It’s important to reiterate that kids often won’t-or can’t-tell their parents that they are being bullied. Lawyers assert that recognizing red flags can help guide parents to the truth about what is happening. Ask direct questions, and listen attentively-what isn’t said, or body language, may be more powerful in conveying your child’s distress.