Frightened Child photo

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of Victimization

A child with Bipolar Disorder is not automatically going to be a target for bullying. However, some children with Bipolar Disorder may either feel different, or even seem different to his or her peers if his/her mood cycle is extreme, or if the child has co occurring ADHD. The disorder itself is not sentence to vulnerably to mistreatment.

Victims are often those who are perceived to be easily manipulated, or unable to defend themselves. A child who Lacks social skills, or is unable to adequately pick up social cues, or exhibits behaviors that might receive negative attention during class, might be vulnerable to bullying.

These changes in attitudes and behavior are not specifically indicative that your child is being bullied; however they are red flags that something might be wrong, and they are messages to parents to check in with your child to see what might be the problem. If you child is managing the mood swings of bipolar disorder, external events such as bullying can put an extreme stress on your child and make him or her even more vulnerable to becoming a target for victimization. Stress at this level can trigger cycling of mood swings as well. Below are some signs that might be red flags in situations like these:

Signs of Victimization

· Change in school performance: You child’s grades might be declining, or your child’s attitude toward school might be negative with a loss in interest in doing homework

· Physical Complaints: Stomach aches, vulnerability to sickness, headaches, more colds etc. Anxiety, worry, and a decreased immune system can increase your child’s complaints of ailments. Sometime a child will fake sick to avoid going to school altogether.

· Nightmares, problems sleeping: If there is a change in your child’s sleeping patterns, it is a good idea to see what additional changes might have occurred in his/her environment. Although this is not uncommon in children with bipolar, if you see this in combination with some of the other signs of stress, consider looking further into the matter.

· Feeling Depressed or increase anxiety: Again, a child with a mood disorder may exhibit signs of depression that is directly related to the disorder; however, anytime you see a mood change, look into external stressors as well to see if you can identify any.

· Sudden onset of cycling: You child’s mood swings can be triggered by the stress put on him or her from being a target of bullying (as mentioned above).

· Isolation: you child might have a decrease in desire to be with friends or to socialize. Or, your child might be losing friends, or have difficulty making friends.

· Missing clothing, money, books, toys, jewelry: Bullies sometimes take things that are important to the victim. You child may be reluctant to tell you where the new shirt that you bought him or her went. If you see a pattern, look into things deeper. Upon child might be coming home more hungry than usual if someone is taking his or her lunch.

 

 

Resources:

National Bullying Prevention Center: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

Stop Bullying.gov: http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/index.html

· Be involved in your child’s school activities

· Help your child socialize and make friend with peers at school: invite friends over for parties and sleep over’s

· Actively teach your child social skills.

· Actively teach your child coping skills to decrease episodes or events of acting out due to frustration. This will decrease negative attention and embarrassment.

· Help your child build confidence and self esteem. Emphasize your child’s strengths.

· Unexplained injuries: you child might not want to talk about how he or she got hurt. This is a definite warning sign, and a parent might want to ask around by talking to the child’s friends, or even calling the school.

Resources:

National Bullying Prevention Center: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

Stop Bullying.gov: http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/index.html

Photo by Chesi – Fotos CC