Back to School: Combatting Bullies

August 23, 2011 9:42:17 AM PDT
Bullying was once considered a childhood rite of passage. Today, bullying is recognized as a serious problem.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports up to half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years. And thanks to tech-savvy kids, cyberbullying and other forms of electronic harassment are now common place.

North Shore Pediatric Therapy Social Worker, Dori Mages says there are warning signs that your child could be the victim of bullying:

  • Not wanting to go to school or complaining about being sick with no clear physical ailments.
  • Being scared to walk to or from school, refusing to take the school bus, or begging you to drive him to school.
  • Coming home with clothes, books, or belongings destroyed, "lost", or missing.
  • Coming home starving (because the bully took his lunch money).
  • Asking for money or starting to steal money (to pay the bully).
  • Becoming withdrawn, distressed, or anxious.
  • Crying himself/herself to sleep or having nightmares.
  • Beginning to bully other children, especially siblings.
  • Refusing to go to the bathroom at school and/or coming home with a sense of urgency.
  • Attempting or threatening suicide.
  • Giving unlikely excuses for any of the above.
    How to Handle Bullying:
  • Provide a safe place for them to talk, even if it's with an aunt, uncle, teacher or grandparent and not you.
  • Don't assume they did anything to bring on the teasing, but also let them know that it doesn't matter if they did.
  • Don't try to fight your child's battle for him or her. Come up with ideas together that he or she thinks might work and then help them think through the possible outcomes.
  • Contact your child's teacher to raise awareness about what's going on so the teacher can be on the lookout for the behavior.
  • Ask the school to keep your conversation private to avoid retribution directed at your child
  • If the bullying doesn't stop or increases in severity, address the principal.
  • If the actions progress and there is a threat of physical violence, it's considered a crime and the proper authorities must be notified.

About North Shore Pediatric Therapy (release)

North Shore Pediatric Therapy is a company devoted to helping children develop and overcome obstacles so they may reach their full potential. The practice operates on three key values: educate, advocate and communicate. Motivated by their love and respect for children, the team of neuropsychologists, occupational, physical, speech and developmental therapists are committed to bringing happiness into the lives of children and their families. North Shore Pediatric Therapy has been assisting families for over 12 years and has expanded to include 3 locations:

1308 Waukegan Road, Suite 103, Glenview, IL 60025

Highland Park
1442 Old Skokie Road, Highland Park, IL 60035

1700 West Cortland Avenue, Suite 207 Chicago, IL 60622

NSPT Phone Number: (877) 486-4140

For more information, visit

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