How to recognize if your child is being bullied…9News Report

I just got back from the 9NEWS TV studio in Denver and wanted to share with you the piece we did on bullying.

Here’s the link to the video clip of the show…it’s only 3 minutes long…but packed with critical info on bullying: http://www.9news.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1808390606001

With the new school year just getting underway, kids need to be prepared with more than just a new outfit and a shiny backpack!Β  Parents also need to be aware of the subtle signs of bullying and what they should do if they suspect a bullying problem.

Bullying is a problem that has been around forever…but the effects on our children seem to have intensified, especially with texting and social media available to the bullies.

How to recognize if your child is being bullied

Β Written by

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–>KUSA – Denver Public Schools started back on Monday. Even though many kids are excited to see friends who were gone over the summer, some children are dreading returning to school due to bullying.

So, how do you know if your child is being bullied if they won’t tell you? Vivian Kirkfield joined 9NEWS at 8 a.m. on Monday to discuss some warning signs that your child may be a victim of a bully.

“There are a couple of subtle signs, and some not-so-subtle,” Kirkfield said. “One of them would be a child coming home scratched or bruised. Another might be a child coming home with belongings missing, like their new bookbag is gone, a jacket or some of their books perhaps.”

Kirkfield says another sign may be your child not wanting to take the bus to school or are walking a different route to school. But the signs may not just be from your child returning or going to school. The issues may permeate into family relations also.

“Maybe they always gotten along with siblings and now, all of the sudden, they are fighting with brothers and sisters,” Kirkfield said. “Maybe they are having trouble sleeping … or bad dreams.”

Kirkfield says sudden complaints of health conditions like a headache or a stomach ache may be a sign too.

“Although all of those symptoms could be caused by other problems, a parent really needs to be sensitive to it and act upon it,” Kirkfield said.

A lot of times, a school will notice a problem on a playground and give parents a heads up. However, if that’s not the case, how does a parent confront their kid about possible bullying?

“Most of the time, children do not want to talk about the bullying because either they’re embarrassed or they’re afraid,” Kirkfield said. “Maybe they’ve been told ‘I’m really going to beat you up,’ or ‘kill your brother.’ Parents can speak with their child and ask direct questions such as ‘Is somebody bothering you at school?’ And ask indirect questions such as ‘Is there anybody at school you don’t like?'”

Kirkfield says a child might be much more willing to talk about something like that than to come straight out and admit they are being bullied.

“Even after your child doesn’t come out and say it … definitely talk to the school staff,” Kirkfield said. “Talk with your child’s teacher, with the child’s principal, guidance counselor, because they are there. Police really need to form that connection with the school early on, even if there isn’t a problem with bullying.”

Kirkfield says parents need to stay involved in their child’s school.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2018), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, cooking, playing Monopoly with my 8-year old grandson and fly-fishing with my husband.

Posted on August 27, 2012, in Bullying, child safety and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Vivian – I was just working on a post on bullying! Your post is wonderful. I will approach it a little differently and link to your post. Congratulations on being on the news. I’m sure this helped many children and parents.

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    • I’m so glad you saw this, Susan…especially since you are also doing a post about bullying. I’d be so happy to have you link this to it! Maybe if we all get talking about it and offering concrete ideas and solutions, we can make an impact.

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  2. Great post and SO relevant! As a former bullied kid, I KNOW how horrible kids can be! It’s important that parents are aware and we ALL take a stand against it! I am so glad you posted about this! I am definitely sharing!

    I’m hosting a giveaway for a free slow cooker if you or your followers are interested, by the way! Details are in today’s post on my blog! Really quick and easy to enter! I know Mommies REALLY love slow cookers cause it’s easy to put food in and leave it cooking during the day! πŸ™‚

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    • Sharon…thank you so much for your lovely comment…many have suffered…not only the victims of bullying, but the bullies as well…they are hurting and this is their way of coping with their pain. We need to find a way to help them too…the best defense against bullying is a strong self-esteem…let’s help every child we know attain that!!! πŸ™‚

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      • Very true! I was always told the kid who bullies is probably going through bad times themselves and they take it out on others but as a kid or a teen who is being threatened and humiliated, it can be hard to understand THAT side of things. As an adult, I am much more capable of seeing that side and not letting it affect me the same.

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        • That is such a spot-on insight, Sharon! Hopefully, we are teaching our child (by word and by deed) that respect and caring is something we can feel for everyone…if each child learns this, that will be the END of bullying for both sides…the bully and the victim. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  3. Great interview on TV and in print. So relevant. I’ve also been reading and reviewing books on the subject for this fall. I was bullied by a teacher and humiliated in front of my entire classroom in 8th grade. I was at the blackboard working on a math problem and the teacher got upset and threw an eraser at me hitting me in the back of the head. I never told my parents — but other teachers heard about it and he got in trouble. Hated math from that day forward. But, the bullying is much more subtle today and hard to detect sometimes.

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    • Dear Pat…
      Thank you for sharing this experience…I think it is so very valuable for all of us to connect on this issue and create a united front for the benefit of children everywhere. I will be thrilled to link to those reviews…the more help we can offer parents, the more likely they will be able to step up and be advocates for their children!
      I appreciate your words…glad you liked the interview and article. πŸ™‚

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  4. Congratulations, Vivian! You are doing so much GOOD!

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    • Thanks, Sandy. I was sorry they didn’t mention the book…and I didn’t feel there was an appropriate time to say anything. The anchor person (TaRhonda Thomas) who I originally connected with was unable to be there this morning…it was her child’s first day of kindergarten. πŸ™‚ I think if she had been there, she might have. But hopefully, they will want me to come back for another “tip sheet” appearance…I’m going to pitch her another show idea. πŸ™‚ I’ve been reading the comments people are making on the news site…and I realize this was a very timely, much needed discussion.

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  5. Thanks, Vivian, these are some great points. I think without becoming a helicopter parent, you really need to get involved in your child’s school life and take a few minutes every day to find out what went well and what didn’t. It’s probably easier to notice something is going on when things get off the pattern.

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    • Oh MIlka…what great advice! Being a participant in a child’s life does give a parent a heads-up…if you speak with your child every day, you will be more likely to see when there is a change or something seems out of whack!

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  6. Excellent advice as always, Vivian. Bullying happens everywhere – even in schools that are supposed to be “good” or “nice”, even in private school – and the signs can be easy to miss.

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    • Thank you, Susanna…you are right…bullying happens even in the “best” schools. And kids are very creative about hiding the truth if they are ashamed or afraid…which they almost always are…but definitely shouldn’t be. If parents and teachers were more pro-active when these incidents occur, kids would be braver about speaking out! The more I find out what is going on in places where ZERO-tolerance to bullying is “supposed” to be enforced but isn’t, the sadder and angrier I get. 😦 Our children are depending on us to protect them!

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  7. Good pointers, Vivian.

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  8. Hi Vivian:
    For some reason, the video link didn’t work. I’ll check it again later.
    Bully is a hot topic and so relevant, especially with children in, or going back to school soon. Excellent post.

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  9. Excellent and important post, Vivian, especially at the beginning of another school year. I was humiliated in front to the entire infant school when I was 6. the memories are very strong. I agree that we need to be more proactive for both the bullied and the bullies. Some of the bullies I have had to deal with as a teacher have endured some horrendous bullying at home (not excusing the behaviour). Your contribution is important, Vivian!

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    • Your comment was so thoughtful and insightful, Joanna…I thank you for sharing your experience.  I know most of us have at least one like that.  I can remember two…being put in the corner in second grade because the teacher had left one of the other girls in charge while she left the room for a few minutes.  When she returned, the girl (who did not like me because I was kind of the teacher’s pet) reported that I had been talking.  I was red as a beet and shaking like a leaf the entire time…it might have been 10 minutes…but it felt like 10 hours.  I think I’ll save the other experience for a post later this week. πŸ™‚   

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  10. I’ll try this again and hope it goes through…
    Vivian, your Ch. 9 advice was for parents of all children, and very helpful. I especially liked the gentle way you advised parents to give their children other ways to reveal their fears. Well done.

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  11. Congrats on the article! I like how you tell parents to handle bulling with their kids.

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    • Thank you, Erik! I know many parents feel that they are helping their kids become “stronger” or more “courageous” by insisting that they handle the bully on their own…by ignoring or by fighting back. But a parent’s responsibility is to “have their child’s back”…in other words, help their child in every way possible and be an advocate. And good communication is so important between parent and child. πŸ™‚

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  12. Hi Vivian:
    You might be confused as to why I’m leaving the following comment here, but I couldn’t access Susanna’s post announcing the winner.
    So congratulations on winning third prize. I think you deserved first!!
    What this tells me is that writing is very subjective. You can’t appease everyone’s tastes. But you had my vote that’s for sure. I do hope you’ll submit this story to a publisher and that it gets picked up, and then I’ll be first in line to purchase a copy. πŸ™‚
    Have a wonderful weekend–submitting!

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    • Wow, Tracy!  I am truly humbled (and very flattered) by your praise. πŸ™‚  I loved my entry…but I loved ALL of the others as well.  I’ve dabbled with writing picture books for 30 years…but it’s only been in the last year that I have really gotten SERIOUS. πŸ™‚  The positive feedback I get inspires me to continue writing and revising…what will get me to take the LEAP of FAITH and submit?  Perhaps the critique groups I am going to become active in this fall. πŸ™‚  We’d all love it if some editor read our stuff and contacted us saying…oh my goodness…I need to get this published! πŸ™‚  But doesn’t happen too often, unfortunately. πŸ™‚   

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  13. Welcome! Thank you for subscribing to follow my blog. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and enjoy the photos I take of life events as seen through the lens of my camera.
    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  14. Thanks for linking up, Erik!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers: STOP Bullying: It STARTS at Home

  2. Pingback: Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Bee Bully by Angela Muse « This Kid Reviews Books

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