As parents, it is important that you can recognize the signs of bullying when your children start being around others often. It is essential to know what to look for when they start school.
Bullying is detrimental to the victim and can cause years of dealing with the emotional aspect of the incidents. Many parents may think that their kids would be open with you if they were being bullied.
However, because of the shame and embarrassment associated with bullying, kids often won’t tell anyone…no matter how close they are with their parents. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of bullying.
5 Signs of Bullying
1. Small, unexplained injuries
You might notice cuts or scrapes, bruises, a black eye or other injuries on your child that he can’t or won’t explain. He will likely not face you as you ask, because it’s embarrassing or he doesn’t really want to lie. He may start wearing long-sleeve clothing, even in warm weather, to hide the wounds.
2. Lost or misplaced items
An occasional pencil or even a few dollars lost may not be anything important. However, missing property is sometimes one of the most popular signs of bullying. He may ask you to replace items such as jackets or book bags often, or be “losing” the cell phone or electronics he carries with him. If your child has always been careful with his belongings, this should be a real cause for concern.
3. Changes in behavior
Common signs of bullying appear changes in the way your child acts. Abnormal behavior should be dismissed, especially if other signs are present.
Your child may begin appearing very tired or irritable each morning before school, due to lack of sleep or fear of facing the bully. He may retreat to his bedroom a lot rather than going out to play with friends or participating in his favorite hobbies.
Bullying victims may start to feel down or bad about themselves, and you may find him saying things like “No one likes me” or “I’m just stupid”. Evidence of self-harm may also be present. Kids may find it difficult to deal with the emotional pain of being bullied so they’ll often resort to things like cutting or eating disorders.
4. Health issues
A bullied child may start to complain of insomnia, which stems from the stress. Lack of appetite is common as well, as your child may be too upset to eat, and can lead to weight loss. Depression is another common and very important sign of bullying. Since the child doesn’t know how to handle the issue, he may just become very sad about it.
5. Poor school performance
If struggling with a bully, your child’s ability to perform at school may suffer. He may become preoccupied with the bully and not care as much about school work, bringing home bad report cards. He may also start to act out in school, receiving detention of in-school suspension.
How to Find Out if Your Child is Being Bullied
Talk directly to your child. Let him or her know that you’re there for him. Gently ask if there’s any bullying going on – but don’t be surprised if it is denied at first. Kids don’t like to admit that they’re bullied because it embarrasses them.
Ask your child’s teacher. Inquire about any differences in the classroom that she may noticed. Is there a student that your child seems to be avoiding often? Request that she keep an eye on your child and report any suspicions to the principal as well as you.
Monitor your child’s online activity. If the bullying is done through the use of social media, the victim may not want to tell you out of fear you will take away his internet time. However, parents should always have passwords and access to their children’s social media and email accounts at all times. These should be checked regularly to make sure no bullying or harassment is occurring.