10 Signs of Bullying and Ways to Help (Super Mario Edition)

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10 Signs or Red Flags of Bullying 🚨

Bullying is a big problem for many kids. Mario knows this firsthand – Bowser and his minions constantly pick on him! But Mario doesn’t let the bullying get him down. With courage and his trusty power-ups, Mario always defeats the bullies and rescues Princess Peach. Like Mario, your child can also stand up to bullying behavior with confidence. This article will share 10 signs of bullying, and give parents tips on how to help. Let’s work together to stomp out bullying!

Understanding Bullying Bullying involves repeatedly harming, intimidating or excluding someone. It can be physical, verbal, or social. Physical bullying means hitting, pushing or damaging property. Verbal bullying includes name-calling, threats and insults. Social bullying involves spreading rumors, embarrassing someone on purpose, or getting others to exclude or isolate a person. Cyberbullying does all this through texts, social media posts and other online methods.

Bullying happens a lot – studies show 20% or more of kids are involved in bullying. The results can last a long time. Being bullied as a child is linked to depression, anxiety and lower self-esteem down the road. Just like Mario suffers when Bowser kidnaps Peach, bullied kids suffer real emotional harm.

10 Signs of Bullying

1. Physical Marks or Lost Belongings ⚠️

  • Bruises, scrapes, or unexplained injuries could be a sign your child is being physically bullied. They may come home with torn clothes or damaged books and backpacks.
  • Missing personal items like lunch money or a favorite jacket are also warning signs. Bullies often take or break victims’ belongings as part of bullying tactics.

2. Changes in Mood or Behavior 😒

  • Watch out for sudden angry outbursts, excessive crying, or your child withdrawing from family activities. These could signal bullying-related anxiety or depression.
  • Your once outgoing child refusing to participate in clubs or sports they used to love can indicate bullying is zapping their confidence and happiness.

3. Decline in Grades πŸ“‰

  • A sudden drop in grades, not turning in assignments, or a new disinterest in school could mean bullying is taking a toll.
  • Bullied kids often avoid classes where the bully is present. Absenteeism and skipping extracurricular activities are common warning signs.

4. Changes in Eating and Sleeping Habits πŸ›Œ

  • Loss of appetite, skipping meals, or binge eating may be tied to bullying-related stress.
  • Trouble sleeping, bedwetting, or frequent nightmares can also signal your child is anxious or frightened by bullies.

5. Avoidance of Social Situations πŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ

  • Does your child make excuses to avoid group activities? Victims often decline invitations from friends to avoid interacting with bullies.
  • Isolation from peers, stopping chatting online, and appearing lonely can occur when bullying causes social anxiety or embarrassment.

6. Decreased Self-Esteem πŸ˜”

  • Negative self-talk like “I’m such a loser”, feeling worthless, or expressing hopelessness are common bullying impacts.
  • Lack of confidence, shame, and continuous self-criticism indicate your child’s self-image is suffering due to bullying.

7. Unexplained Complaints of Physical Ailments πŸ€’

  • Frequent vague headaches, stomach pains, or not “feeling well” could be signs your child wants to avoid school to escape bullying.
  • If visits to the nurse’s office spike or they claim illness solely on school days, bullying may be the underlying cause.

8. Sudden Fear of Technology or Social Media πŸ’»

  • If your child stops using their phone or avoids social sites they used to enjoy, cyberbullying may be occurring.
  • Strong reactions to notifications or quickly switching screens when you enter the room are potential flags.

9. Talks of Self-Harm or Harm by Others ⚠️

  • Expressing fear of physical harm from peers, wanting to hurt themselves, or referencing suicide could indicate severe bullying.
  • Any talk of self-harm or violence toward others should be addressed immediately with professional help.

10. Possessive or Secretive Behavior with Devices πŸ“΅

  • If your child becomes overly possessive of devices, hiding them from you or clutching them protectively, they may be guarding against cyberbullying.
  • Reluctance to let you see texts, social posts, or search histories could mean bullying is occurring in digital spaces.

Ways Parents Can Help

Together we can end bullying and create a safer world for our kids.

A. Talk to Your Child About Bullying πŸ—£οΈ

  • If your child is getting bullied, they may feel scared and alone, like Mario facing Bowser. Make sure they know they can talk to you about it so they don’t have to handle it themselves.
  • Ask them to explain how the bullying makes them feel – anxious, angry, depressed? Take it seriously and work with them, don’t just say “get over it”. Keep the conversation going, even if you can’t fully relate to their experience.

B. Learn About Bullying From Your Child πŸ€”

  • Is your child being teased, having rumors spread about them, or getting threats online? Those are types of bullying. Discuss with your child how bullies target people.
  • Roleplay with your child how to stand up to bullying in safe ways. And remind them – real superstars show kindness to everyone.

C. Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity 🌐

  • The internet can be dodgy, like Bowser’s castles. Talk to your child about monitoring their accounts and using privacy controls. Make it a collaborative discussion, not a dictate.
  • Before they post anything online, teach them to ask themselves – would Mario do this? He models wise choices.

D. Work With Your Child’s School 🏫

  • If your child is bullied at school, you should talk to their teachers or principal to get help making it stop. Rules exist for a reason.
  • Schools have a responsibility to make students feel safe. As a parent, you and teachers need to team up against bullying like the Super Mario Bros!

E. Help Your Child Make New Friends πŸ‘«

  • If your child is isolated, they become an easier bullying target. Help them make new buddies to play with.
  • Mario builds strength by having Yoshi and Luigi on his squad. Your child needs a support crew too!

F. Seek Counseling For Your Child 🌈

  • If ongoing bullying is really getting your child down, they may need to talk to a counselor. Don’t wait – seek help if you notice signs of depression or hopelessness.
  • Counselors are like power-up mushrooms – they help kids comeback stronger! Let them give your child an emotional boost.

G. Boost Your Child’s Self-Worth 🌟

  • As a parent, remind your child often that they have value and strength on the inside. Bullies try to make them feel powerless, but they have an inner Mario they can tap into!
  • Help them find healthy ways to build confidence to stand up to bullying behavior. Practice roleplaying responses so they gain courage.

H. Lead by Example at Home 🏑

  • Kids pick up on more than we realize. If they hear yelling or put-downs at home, they may think that’s normal behavior.
  • Make your home a peaceful place and model treating family members with understanding. Show your child how minor conflicts can get resolved calmly.

I. Know Your Parental Rights βš–οΈ

  • If teachers aren’t stopping reported bullying, research what formal actions you can take to protect your child.
  • You may need to escalate to school authorities, file official complaints, or contact legal aid. Document everything. For severe violence, police may need to get involved.

J. Stay Vigilant as a Parent πŸ‘οΈβ€πŸ—¨οΈ

  • Bullying often happens out of sight. Frequently check in with your child in an open, non-judgmental way.
  • If bullying is continuing or starting again, they need to feel comfortable telling you right away. Reassure them you’re on top of things and want to help.

Books and Resources

When it comes to stomping out bullying, parents don’t have to go it alone. There are power-up resources to help equip you in supporting your child through these challenges. Don’t let bullying make you feel defeated – there are proven 1-UP tools to turn to.

  • First and foremost, check out StopBullying.gov for tons of concrete skills – warning signs, prevention tips, advice for confronting bullying behaviors head-on. Their website gives parents real-world tactics for addressing bullying situations, just like Mario seeks power-ups for defeating Bowser.
  • Kidpower’s Online Learning Center offers a range of online courses aimed at teaching ‘People Safety’ skills through an evidence-based curriculum. Their teaching method, termed the “Positive Practice Teaching Method”, is designed to provide age-appropriate and practical safety skills rehearsals.

Pick up the bestselling book The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso from your local library or bookstore. It breaks down the bullying dynamic and helps kids recognize harassment. Coloroso aims to turn bystanders into upstanders.

The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to HighSchool

Another excellent read is Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations by Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth. This book engages kids in discussions to build empathy and kindness.

Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations Illustrated Edition

You can also check out Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi Ph.D. which uses simple illustrations to teach preschool and elementary aged kids how to be friendly, not mean.

Hands Are Not for Hitting

For more picture books about bullying, check out these books on Amazon. When you buy something, it helps us out and doesn’t cost you anything extra. As Mario would say, “Yahoo!”

Conclusion

Bullying is like an end level boss we need to defeat together! With teamwork, we can power up kids to stomp out bullying for good. Watch closely for the warning signs we talked about so you can spot bullying early. Keep nagging the school until they get tougher on bullies – your loud voice matters! Also tap into the resources suggested to get more 1-UP anti-bullying tips.

Although bullying’s not going away completely yet, we don’t have to let it rule our kids’ lives. Let’s pave the way for more kindness and less cruelty. We can use our power to protect youth from bullying and make the next gen more super than any Mario power-up! But we need you on our squad – are you in?

Check out our other blog post on why we need to understand bullying.

Hey there! I'm Allen, but you can call me "The Corny Dad" from Canada. I have a wife and four kiddos. Yep, one's full grown, but they'll always be my babies. When I'm not doing something with my family or playing video games, I'm here, jotting down my bits of wisdom on this blog. From the fun stuff to the parenting chaos, I cover it all. Believe me, with the right attitude, parenting's a smoother ride and I'm here to help.

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