Bullying can cause self-harm to your child including suicidal attempts and running away from home. It is a serious issue that should be dealt with as soon as noticed. Children barely talk about bullying, therefore, it is up to us the parents to watch out for warning signs your child is being bullied. This is an important step in taking action against bullying, because children avoid talking about bullying for fear of backlash from their bullies.
Some of the significant signs your child is being bullied include:
- Inexplicable physical marks
It may be common for children to get injured on the playground for instance, they may fall down and bruise their knees or arms. However, when your child comes home with torn clothes and bruises that are hard to explain and they do not want to talk about them, it could be one of the signs your child is being bullied. These bruises may also be accompanied by lost item and valuables.
- Stress and anxiety
These are not common among children but a bullied child will portray symptoms of stress and anxiety. There was even a study in Norwegian schools that found a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among bullied pupils.
One of the symptoms would be difficulty in sleeping and nightmares. This is because they are afraid to face another day with the bully. They might spend the whole night thinking of how things would be rather than taking a rest.
Stomachaches and headaches are another sign of stress and anxiety. If your child is affected by either, talk to him or her about bullying.
Your child may also lose interest in schoolwork. If your child’s grades are declining, talk to them about what is happening at school, they might be victims of bullying. Bullying can divert your child’s attention and cause them to have difficulty in concentrating and focusing on schoolwork.
- Intense emotional reactions
Children who are bullied appear sad, angry and moody most of the time. They portray intense emotions especially to discussion about school or social activities. They also tend to get agitated fast even on small issues. These reactions could be a sign of bullying.
- Change of friends
If you notice that your child has fewer friends and is changing friends frequently, be keen on other symptoms of bullying. Bullied children tend to avoid social activities. If your child complains of being lonely, they might be experiencing bullying. Bullied children isolate themselves from others for fear of being bullied.
- Reluctance to go to School
It is normal for children to be reluctant to go to school after long holidays. However, it is not normal for children to avoid school after four to eight weeks in session. If this is happening with your child, check out their body language. Bullied children may fake sicknesses just to avoid going to school.
The best way to teach your children about bullying so that they are neither the victims nor the bullies is to have conversations with them over the issue early in their lives. Teach them to be respectful of others and to have empathy even when someone is mean to them.