House Call: School Bullying
In the United States, one in four children are bullied on a regular basis. Victims of bullying often suffer from serious emotional scarring, low self-esteem, and in severe cases, depression or sometimes suicide. Verbal abuse is the most common form of bullying, which can often be more detrimental than physical abuse.
Statistics show that 77 percent of teens in grades six through ten have been verbally bullied in some way. Verbal bullying includes rumor spreading, yelling obscenities or making derogatory comments on race, gender, weight, sexual orientation or anything else. Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that teachers and/or school administration do not intervene in 85 percent of school bullying cases. Therefore, it is important for parents to be able to recognize signs of bullying in their children, whether their children are victims or the bullies themselves.
Signs to look for in children who are being bullied are changes in eating habits, coming home from school with unexplained injuries or damaged or missing belongings, making excuses not to go to school, acting out of character, avoiding certain places or playing outside alone, trouble sleeping and self-blame.
Signs that a child may be acting as a bully are frequent violence, trouble controlling anger, acting manipulative and controlling of others and situations, not accepting responsibility of their actions, being quick to blame others and a showing a strong need to win or be the best at everything.
We have recently seen many suicides and acts of violence occur due to severe trauma bullying causes. Fortunately, more and more efforts toward bullying prevention and intervention have been initiated throughout the country. Here in the community, Cone Health has an exceptional network of behavioral health professionals dedicated to educating and counseling children and families on bullying.
Anita Jones has been a licensed clinical social worker at Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital for the past sixteen and a half years. Anita received a Bachelor of Science in biology and physical education and an M.B.A. from University of North Carolina Greensboro. She earned a Masters of social work from East Carolina University.