Do you know that something is going on with your child, but he or she refuses to share details?
Is your child easily angered, uncontrollably irritable, and/or often withdrawn?
Does your child have trouble sleeping at night?
Has your child gained or lost weight and you don’t know why?
Does your child refuse to allow you to meet with the school to address the bullying?
Are your child’s grades falling at school?
Is your child sad more often than not?
Does your child refuse to go to school?
If you can answer yes to any of these, your child may be getting bullied at school.
Child bullying is a regular occurrence in schools, churches, playgrounds and just about everywhere children gather. Bullying can start at a young age and last for years. As long as your child comes in contact with other kids, you need to be watchful of bullying behavior.
More often than not, children find it difficult to tell their parents of their experience with bullies. This is often because they are afraid of further abuse or the reaction of adults. This makes it hard to clearly define what is going on.
As a child’s care giver or parent, there are certain subtle warning signs you can look out for in your children.
Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied
➢ Finding excuses not to go to school or social gatherings. When your child would rather curl up in bed than go to school or join kids in other activities, there is probably a problem. The child may give excuses of headaches, bellyaches, or any other ailment that may persist over time. Look closely to ascertain whether they are dodging school for another reason (i.e. bullying) or if they are actually ill. A great way to approach this is to schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as an ailment is identified. This will prevent your child from overusing this excuse.
➢ Falling grades. Bullying a child will likely cause that child’s school grades to drop, especially if they are so distracted from the bully that they cannot focus. This happens because they are not just scarred and intimidated by the experience; they have difficulty concentrating in class.
➢ Loss or change in friends. Bullied children tend to get isolated from their usual friends especially if the bully is within that cycle of friendship. Even when the bully is not even within the child’s usual clique, the trauma from the emotional abuse causes the child to stop hanging out with usual friends. This could be due to embarrassment, fear of exposure, or fear that other relationships will become abusive as well.
➢ Troubled sleep. Tossing and turning rather than having a sound sleep could also be a sign of bullying. Anxiety over the next meeting with the bully could cause tension and nervousness in the child, leading to problems following asleep, problems staying asleep, or waking up early. Anxiety about the relief of the bullying behavior, or the parents choice to approach for bully at school or in a different setting also can interfere with a child’s ability to sleep.
➢ Changes in Behavior. Bullying can cause noticeable changes in your child. A once happy, adventurous and independent child can suddenly become moody, timid and clingy if they are being bullied.
➢ Signs of violence. Your child may come home with bruises, torn clothes and torn books more often than usual as a result from being bullied at school. The bullied child may also tend to become a bully towards his or her younger siblings, exhibiting the traits of the bully. In a sense, your child may take the position that since she/he cannot beat up the bully at school, she/he will obtain some form of power at home by beating up her/his younger and smaller siblings.
➢ Unusual hunger. Your child’s bully may be taking his or her lunch and starving your child in school. Pay attention to whether or not your child is eating more than usual at home.
Handling Bullying Behavior
➢ Get closer to your child so that the child can freely share his or her fears and problems with you. Let your child know that they are safe with you. Reassure them that you do not judge your child for being bullied, as they might feel embarrassed or ashamed. It will also help if you can think of a time that you feel comfortable sharing, where you too were bullied. Discuss openly and honestly about how it felt, and try to stay away from efforts to imply that you were stronger than their child, lest your child feel even worse about him or herself. Instead, you want to normalize the feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and depression that follow bullying episodes.
➢ Be more vigilant and observant with your children and make an effort to observe their patterns. Pay attention to the signs we have discussed, and ask your child if they would like to elaborate more on their behaviors. If they are resistant, acknowledge the changes in behaviors that you notice and try to revisit instances from the past where you were able to gain their trust.
➢ Visit your child’s school and get acquainted with his or her friends, teachers and school authority. You can meet each of these people when you suspect that your child is being bullied. Your child will probably be resistant, but children whose parents are more present at school, are less likely to have difficulties in the school atmosphere, and that includes bullying.
Of course if these tips are not enough, we are happy to help. You my schedule a free, consultation today at 844 MY TECH TALK.