Back-To-School Bullying

A new school year is underway. While it's an exciting time, for some kids, it means returning to see kids who bully them daily. Some kids are quick to tell their parents or teachers that they're being harassed or abused. Others stay silent longer.

Sean Pumphrey, a psychotherapist at ECU Physicians with experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families, developed an acronym parents can use to look for signs of bullying in their children. It uses the word "GRILLED."

G: grades dropping, loss of interest in school
R: running away or talk of suicide
I: injuries that are unexplained or out of the blue
L: loss of items at school that they care about, damaged electronic items
L: loss of friends or sudden change in friends
E: eating changes, usually loss of appetite, overeating
D: difficulty sleeping

If a parent sees one or more of these behaviors, Pumphrey says the parent should talk to someone at their school for starters. He also encourages parents to find a therapist for the child to tell what's been happening.

There are three types of bullying, according to Pumphrey. The first is verbal, which includes ugly words, put downs or inappropriate language towards the victim. The second is social, which includes excluding the victim, spreading rumors about the person or making them feel that they do not belong. The final type is physical, which includes beating up, pushing, hitting or tripping.


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