Being bullied is an embarrassing and painful experience for kids. Most of the time, they won’t talk about it. They rarely share it with adults or their parents. Kids would suffer in silence until the bullying worsens. Not everyone will understand why kids rather hide it to prevent the compounding of emotions.
Sometimes, the child sees the recounting of the experience to be like going through bullying again. Many kids also feel that others will think that they deserve the treatment or agree with the bully. For kids, telling adults about the bullying is like making matters worse. They fear that the bullies will retaliate or their parents will be frustrated with them. But as parents, you have to identify the “signs” that your child is a victim of bullying. Here are red flags to spot it.
Pay Attention To What Your Kid Is Saying To You
Children will not directly use the term “bullying” when they describe their experience. They might tell you that they don’t like going to their preschool. Try to collect information about the situation. Ask them how they feel and what happened. If your kid confides about the experience, do not rationalize or minimize what happened. Reassure them that it’s not their fault and give them ideas on how to overcome such situations.
Ask About Your Child’s Friends
As parents, you know your child’s buddies, and if you notice that they stopped calling or have “vanished,” it might indicate bullying. Some friendships no longer work because they grew apart, but it can also be a sign that bullying is happening. Ask the kid about their friends, and if they answer that they don’t have any, it’s a red flag, so try to know more about why they are no longer friends.
Notice Your Child’s Changing Moods
Children who experience bullying have significant personality and behavioral changes. They would sometimes become clingy, sullen, withdrawn, or anxious. Some kids also become moody, sad, depressed, or teary after attending school. These are not typical behaviors. Thus, try to learn more when they have low confidence, believing that they are not good enough, or blaming themselves for events or things.
Notice Your Kid’s Injuries and Health Complaints
Kids who experience bullying will often complain of physical ailments such as stomachaches and headaches. Unexplained bruises, cuts, or scratches are also signs of bullying. Some parents may also notice changes such as skipping meals or overeating. Bullied kids will often go home hungry because they skipped lunch to stay away from potential bullying. Or somebody took or destroyed their lunch. If you notice these signs, it’s time to check on what’s going on with your kid.
Changes in Sleeping Habits
If there are changes in your child’s sleeping patterns, it may also indicate something amiss in their life. Kids who are bullied have trouble sleeping and experience nightmares. Some may sleep more than usual. Others cry to sleep or wet their beds as they sleep. Please keep track of your child’s sleeping patterns as crucial in their healthy lifestyle and development.
Poor Grades and School Performance
Bullied kids often find it hard to focus on schoolwork. They soon lose interest in studying. They have poor performance in school, and their grades may begin to drop. Always ask kids if they like their school, and if they say something negative, find out why. Their dislike of school might be due to bullying.
If your child comes home with reports of lost possession, supplies, or personal property, it might be more than irresponsible behavior. Often, bullies will take or destroy their victim’s property. If you notice damaged, torn, or missing pieces from your child’s book, clothing, and other belongings, ask more about it. It might indicate that your child is being bullied.
Take Note of Your Child’s School Schedule
Some kids who are bullied will start skipping school events or say that regular school activities got canceled. If your kid suddenly loses interest in their favorite sport, activity, and hobby, it indicates that there is something wrong. Know why things have changed and the possible cause of their deviation from their routine.
Bullying has become a common occurrence in schools, and it affects a child’s healthy development. Some kids carry the experience throughout their lifetime. It is time that parents take a proactive approach to help their kids overcome these situations. If your child confides in you, take it seriously—express empathy without treating them as fragile to boost their confidence and self-esteem. Model a we-can-solve-this attitude and work together to address the situation.