There have always been bullies in the world, but it seems in recent years bullying has gotten a lot worse. Perhaps it is just being recognized and addressed more than in years past, but the fact remains, children get bullied not only at school but at home, online and in other public locations.
So how do you know if your child is being bullied? There are certain warning signs that you can look for, including but certainly not limited to:
- Frequent damage to or loss of clothing, books, or other belongings.
- Injuries that they refuse to explain or offer a poor explanation for.
- A noticeable decrease in self-esteem.
- Frequent illnesses such as stomach aches or headaches.
- Fake illnesses or acting scared to attend school, social functions or being left alone with a particular person.
- Loss of interest in things they love, in their friends or schoolwork.
- Changes in sleep patterns, having nightmares or bed wetting.
- Personality changes such as being moody, overly sensitive, angry, depressed or disassociated.
While the above signs do not necessarily mean that your child is being bullied, they do indicate that something is causing your child stress. It’s important for you to talk openly and honestly with your child to try to figure out what is going on.
Don’t be afraid to ask them point blank if they’re being bullied at school. If they tell you that they are, tell your child to keep track of all bullying in a journal. Have them include the name of the people involved, when and where it happened, what the bullying was in as much detail as possible, and if anyone else witnessed the incident.
While they are documenting the incidents, you can take action immediately. If it’s happening at school, contact your child’s teacher and let them know of your concerns. Ask the teacher if they have seen any times when your child has been bullied. You may also ask if your child gets along with the other students in class besides the ones bullying.
If it’s happening at the bus stop or other school related activity, talk with the principal and find out what can be done. They should have bullying policies in place to help your child.
If the bullying is happening at sporting events or other community activities, speak with the director of those events to find out who is in charge of security. If you cannot attend the events, talk with family, friends or other parents who do attend to see if they can keep an eye out for any issues.
Of course, if it’s happening in your own home, you can immediately address the bully and take steps to get to the root of why they feel it is necessary to act that way.
No one wants their child to be bullied but it happens more often than we might think. Pay attention to your child and how they act. Talk to them if you see any changes in their behavior. If you’re concerned about your child being bullied, be sure to check out the resources below.