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(Editor’s note: Please welcome Edwin with a guest post we can all benefit from reading. We’ve talked about Cyber Bullying before, but this is the first time I think we’ve talked about bullying in real life. Thanks, Edwin!)

Bullying is a serious issue receiving a lot of attention recently. In the last couple of years, a number of high school and college students have committed suicide after being bullied by classmates. A case that has been in the news lately is that of Phoebe Prince, a girl who committed suicide after having been bullied relentlessly. Her tormentors were recently prosecuted for their involvement in her death. This marks one of the few cases in the country in which criminal charges have been filed for bullying.

Bullying is Very Common Among Kids and Teens

Bullying is an issue that has been on the minds of many parents recently because of all the attention that the issue has garnered in the media. Unfortunately, bullying is quite common in elementary and high schools. Bullying effects as many as 16 percent of 10-to-17 year olds on a regular basis, with countless more students being bullied only sometimes.

Bullying happens for a number of reasons. Statistically, overweight students are most vulnerable to bullying. However, all students– including slim, popular students–are at risk of being bullied. Some students are even bullied because other students feel inferior to them, either from good grades or the amount of attention they receive.

Another perpetuator of bullying is that many parents are not aware it is even happening to their child. Children and teens usually remain silent about the torment– because of shame and embarrassment–and will often deal with it internally and never tell anyone about it. Therefore, because your child will rarely come right out and tell you, you will have to do some work to decide if they are being bullied.

Signs That Your Child is Being Bullied

Here are some signs to look for that may show your child is dealing with bullies:

  • Disliking school: If your child doesn’t want to go to school (especially all of a sudden), there is usually something wrong. However, this does not include not wanting to go to school just one day. Consistently not wanting to go to school day after day may show that your child is trying to avoid a bully.
  • Bullying other children: Oftentimes bullies and victims are one in the same. Victims of bullying will often pick on ‘weaker’ children than themselves. This helps them feel a sense of control and superiority.
  • Acting withdrawn and moody: Obviously, children that are bullied are not usually lively and energetic. They may become disinterested in activities they once loved (like sports or video games) spending a lot of time alone in their room. Bullied children also commonly act moody at home and may snap at simple requests (like coming to the table for dinner or performing chores).
  • Overeating: Many bullied children will turn to food for comfort. If their appetite suddenly increases dramatically or they are eating food in secret or hiding it in their bedroom, there may be a problem.

Parents have a duty to find out if their child is being bullied and take the proper precautions to see that it stops. Don’t ignore the issue or think that your child simply needs to ‘toughen up’. Bullying is a serious issue that can cause many physical and emotional problems in children if not taken care of promptly.

This post was written by guest author Edwin who blogs over at Yourlocalsecurity.com.

Photo courtesy of Diego Grez via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: tips for parents who want to know if their children are being bullied.