Bullying has always been an issue for children. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, a child may be picked on, teased, or tormented. Although bullying has often been looked on as a natural part of growing up, it is not alright. Two of the most common places children are bullied are at school and online, and children may not always confide in their parents when they are the victim of bullying. These are signs that bullied children may exhibit:
Frightened of School
Not all children like school, but it can be a sign of being bullied when a child who previously enjoyed class suddenly no longer wants to attend. Other signs involving school include falling grades and feeling “sick” often in order to stay home.
Trouble Sleeping / Change in Eating
If your child is being bullied elsewhere, it will also effect their activities at home. Children may experience a loss of appetite, develop insomnia, or sleep more often.
Moody / Angry
After dealing with being bullied, a child may take more aggression out at home against their family. A child may be snappy, irritable, and angry. Bullied children may withdraw from their families and appear distant.
Although children do experience lots of bumps and bruises on their own, a parent should take notice of unusual or excessive marks. When questioned, a bullied child still may not tell you where the marks came from or lie about their origin.
Why do bullied children not always tell their parents? Children may be scared telling their parents will make it worse. They may be embarrassed, or a child may not understand what is happening to them is wrong.
If a parent suspects their child is being bullied, the first person to approach is their child. Talk to them. Try to find out what is going on. When a parent knows the situation and confirms their child is being bullied, the parent and child should decide on the next step together.
Talking with a child’s school is often the first stop. Schools, unfortunately, do not always have the best policies. If your child’s school does not have an effective program, a parent can work to instigate a change and improve conditions. Olweus is a bully prevention program that has produced promising results.
If the bullying is occurring online, help your child to arrange their privacy features on social networking sites and e-mail to block the attacker. Contact the website about the bullying because it is often against terms of service contracts.
When abuse is physical, the police may need to be contacted.
Parents should also work at home to instill self-esteem and confidence in their children. A bully may chose a victim due to a perceived weakness or difference, and these traits can prevent bullying. Confidence and high self-esteem can also help a child react and deal with bullying more efficiently.
Bullying is a serious problem that warrants a serious response from parents. Children who are being bullied need to have advocates to help make it stop. The effect of bullying can be long-lasting with detrimental consequences. When a parent confirms bullying of their child, immediate action needs to be taken.
Kids Health Helping Kids Deal With Bullies
Parenting Science How to prevent bullying: A guide for the science minded
Education.com Warning Signs Your Child is being Bullied