Research has shown that the emotional and physical impact of bullying can last for years. Dr. Tatiana Falcone of Cleveland Clinic says no parent wants to learn that their child is being bullied, but knowing there is a problem is the first step towards solving it.
"Sometimes it takes so much of the bullying for the kid to ask for help. Even to their friends or even to an adult, so it's important to open all lines of communication so the children feel that they're able to ask for help when they need it," Dr. Falcone says.
Dr. Falcone says that kids who are bullied in the first eight years of life are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. They are also more likely to suffer from obesity, heart conditions and high cholesterol as adults.
Here are the three signs to look out for:
- Sudden change in behavior (stops enjoying sports or activities seemingly overnight)
- Sudden drop in grades
- Stops participating in social activities
Dr. Falcone says bullying can present an immediate danger as well.
Research has shown a strong association between kids who are bullied and thoughts of suicide.
She says that children are very impulsive and sometimes parents don't hear about bullying until their child is in the emergency room after they've attempted suicide, because that's the first time they will say something about it.
"Anytime that your kid is making any comment that sounds like hopeless, like, 'I don't want to be here anymore,' 'Nothing is worth it anymore,' 'Life doesn't matter,' or like they're making comments like, 'I don't know what's going to happen in the future,' take those comments very seriously," Dr. Falcone says.
Dr. Falcone says that if you suspect your child might have thoughts of suicide, go through your house and hide any items that might pose danger, including medications, and get them to an emergency department as soon as possible.
CLICK HERE to see warning signs for young people and suicide.