Know the Signs

Know the signs of bullying
Know the signs of depression
Know the signs of domestic abuse
Know the signs of emotional abuse
Know the signs of inhalant use
Know the signs of self-injury
Know the signs of suicide

Know the signs of bullying. One of the best ways to spot bullying in your children's lives is watch their moods. If they are suddenly anxious, stressed or indicating that they hate school, take notice. Also pay attention if they say that there's a lot of drama at school or that they have no friends. Other signs of bullying include complaining of headaches and stomachaches, skipping school, losing possessions and slipping grades.

Know the signs of self-injury. Small, linear/straight line cuts, often parallel like railroad ties carved into forearm, the upper arm, sometimes the legs. Some cut words into themselves. If they're having body image issues, they may cut the word 'fat.' If they're having trouble at school, it may be 'stupid,' 'loser,' 'failure,' or a big 'L.' Unexplained cuts and scratches, particularly when they appear regularly. "The cat did it,." Mood changes like depression or anxiety, out-of-control behavior, changes in relationships, communication, and school performance.

Know the signs of depression. Feelings of self loathing, helplessness and/or hopelessness. Dropping grades. Losing interest in daily or favorite activities. Withdrawing socially. Appetite or weight changes. Loss of energy and sleeping more or less than normal. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things. Unexplained physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain. Unexplained excessive crying, irritability or anger. Reckless behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.

Know the signs of domestic abuse. Bruises or injuries that look like they came from choking, punching, or being thrown down. Black eyes, red or purple marks at the neck, and sprained wrists are common injuries in violent relationships. Attempting to hide bruises with makeup or clothing Making excuses like tripping or being accident-prone or clumsy. Often the seriousness of the injury does not match up with the explanation. Having few close friends and being isolated from relatives and coworkers and kept from making friends Having to ask permission to meet, talk with, or do things with other people Having little money available; may not have credit cards or even a car. Having low self-esteem; being extremely apologetic and meek Referring to the partner's temper but not disclosing the extent of the abuse Having a drug or alcohol abuse problem Having symptoms of depression, such as sadness or hopelessness, or loss of interest in daily activities Talking about suicide, attempting suicide, or showing other warning signs of suicide.

Know the signs of emotional abuse. Only meeting and interacting in a physical space like an office, home, car, or other spaces where s/he feels ownership and familiarity (and where you lack them). Let you speak first to establish your baseline and look for weaknesses. Manipulation of facts: Examples: Lying. Excuse making. Two faced. Blaming the victim for causing their own victimization. Deformation of the truth. Strategic disclosure or withholding of key information. Exaggeration. Understatement. One-sided bias of issue. Overwhelm you with facts and statistics: “intellectual bullying”. Overwhelm you with procedures and red tape. Raising their voice and strong body language to displaying negative emotions. Negative surprises. Giving you little or no time to decide. Negative humor designed to poke at your weaknesses and disempower you. Consistently judge and criticize you to make you feel Inadequate through negative humor, ridiculing, and dismissing you. The silent treatment: deliberately not responding to your reasonable calls, text messages, emails, or other inquiries,. Pretend ignorance, “playing dumb” tactic. Guilt-baiting. Targeting recipient’s soft spot. Holding another responsible for the manipulator’s happiness and success, or unhappiness and failures. Victimhood: Exaggerated or imagined personal or health issues. Dependency. Co-dependency. Deliberate frailty to elicit sympathy and favor. Playing weak, powerless, or a martyr.

Know the signs of inhalant use. There is a common link between inhalant use and problems in school -- failing grades, chronic absences and general apathy. Other signs include the following: paint or stains on body or clothing, spots or sores around the mouth, red or runny eyes or nose, chemical breath odor, drunk, dazed or dizzy appearance, nausea, loss of appetite and anxiety, excitability, or irritability.

Know the signs of suicide. People who are contemplating suicide may become moody, appear hopeless and experience changes in personality. Sometimes suicidal people will cut off contact with other people and lose interest in activities. Or, they may start to clean out things, throwing or giving away once treasured items. They also might visit old friends and make the rounds to family members.