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Know the Signs that a Child is Being Bullied
08/25/2010

BEDFORD, Texas — As you and your child check off back-to-school supplies, don’t forget to add one thing to the emotional toolkit – how to deal with a bully.

In recent years there have been a number of sad cases across the nation and here close to home of tragic consequences of bullying. Yet many children are still afraid to share the information with their parents.

“Taking an active interest in children’s friendships and activities can make a difference in spotting signs of bullying early,” Ross Teemant, a licensed clinical social worker and clinical manager at Texas Health Springwood Hospital. “Monitoring your child’s behaviors and noticing subtle behavior shifts can be among the first signs of problems at school.”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has identified possible warning signs that a child is being bullied. Those signs include:

  • Unexplained cuts and bruises
  • Few friends
  • Lost interest in school
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches or other pains
  • Low self esteem
  • Loss of appetite

The agency recommends that parents talk to their children first, asking subtle questions such as:

  • Who do you sit with at lunch?
  • Are there children at school you don’t like?

In the meantime, parents should intervene immediately, nurture empathy, teach friendship skills, and teach children to engage in energizing and constructive activities. Parents also should create opportunities to do good in the community and model that behavior with their children.

“Parents should teach children right and wrong and model behaviors that support that teaching,” Teemant said. “Work with children to create consequences and rewards for the actions they take after teaching them right from wrong.”

Parents also should watch for signs of other problems, such as depression, and share concerns with school counselors or administrators.

For more information, visit stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford is a 296-bed, acute-care facility serving Northeast Tarrant County since 1973. The hospital’s services include outpatient surgery, women’s services, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a dedicated oncology care unit, cardiac rehabilitation and psychiatric and addiction treatment. Texas Health HEB is an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/HEB.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health is a partner in eight additional hospitals or surgery centers. Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health SingleSource Staffing is a joint venture designed to help Texas Health hospitals improve patient care by recruiting and retaining quality nurses and allied healthcare professionals. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

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