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Early warning signs of bullying in kids

Early warning signs of bullying in kids (WCCU)

Kids all across east central Illinois are heading back to school, but it's not just their education parents need to worry about. With bullying on the rise, there are mental and physical safety concerns as well.

Susan Marino has seen bullying progress over the years. She was a first-grade teacher for 30 years and now is a grandmother herself.

"It is a big concern,” Marino said. “Bullying is a concern that needs to be addressed. I just hope that the parents realize that everybody has self-worth and they need to teach that to their children.

Signs of bullying start at home. Mental health experts say you need to look for early warning signs in your child so you can get them help.

"Maybe having some anger outbursts or irritable,” Rosecrance counseling supervisor Carol Claxon said.

“Kids will tend to start isolating, maybe spending more time in their rooms. Not as much time outside of the house"

Claxon remembers one patient who went from being very self-confident to talking negatively about himself to his parents. She says that's a tell-tale sign of bullying.

If your child is being bullied, tell him or her to walk away and tell a teacher. They also say you should tell school administrators, like a school counselor.

"Stay involved with that process,” Claxon said. “If you think nothing's happening, go back again and keep involved in reporting and finding out how this is going to be involved."

If you do see these signs, it's important to make sure you address the problem right away.

"It seems like it's the kids that are the meek and the mild and they seem to get picked on all the time,” Marino said. “So the ones that get picked on get picked on all the time. They don't stand up for themselves, they just seem to be ‘pickable’. It's a sad thing."

Experts say teaching kids to stand up for themselves now will help with bigger issues they may encounter later in life.

Experts also suggest keeping an eye on your child's social media accounts, which they say is a hot spot for bullying. Bullies can be more confident behind a screen and things can progress quicker.

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