Bullying is never fun.
I just don’t get it why some people find satisfaction in picking on other people. Where’s the fun in that? How is it fun when the other person is begging for the pain to stop?
It’s just sad to hear that bullying happens everywhere and is more common in schools than we can imagine — big children hitting smaller children, stronger ones power tripping weaker ones. It’s a scenario you don’t want your children to be in.
As parents, it’s not easy to hear or know that your child is being bullied — how it affects their studies, self-esteem, and their overall wellbeing. Be it verbal, physical or relational, the long-term effects of bullying are detrimental to a child.
However, sometimes, parents are the last to know that their child is no longer happy at school because of the extent of bullying he/she experiences. More often, children being bullied are afraid to tell their parents that something troubling is happening to them.
So, before everything gets worse, you, as a parent, must know how to spot warning signs your child might be bullied and start preventing it. Here are some of the red flags of bullying every parent must know about.
1. They aren’t sleeping well.
Much like adults who are stressed, kids being bullied will have trouble sleeping. They would either have nightmares or they cry themselves to sleep while others are bed wetting.
What you can do about it: Body language is powerful so watch your child’s reaction. If your child is not the one to have difficulty in sleeping, when he/she does this, try to soothe them by being by their side in silence to calm them, so they’ll feel there’s somebody to comfort them.
2. They are unusually emotional.
Because of the pent up feelings of being felt useless and unwelcome, children being bullied feel unusually emotional. Their self-esteem are also being challenged that they tend to lose it. They also feel alone, which sometimes lead to depression and anxiety.
What you can do about it: Talk to them about their feelings. Most of them may not tell you outright that they have a problem because they fear they might be reprimanded. Understand that what they’re going through is tough for them. So, help them express what they feel by letting them know that you will help them with their problem.
3. They find reasons to stay away from school.
If children find themselves in a traumatic place, they do everything to keep themselves away from that place and go somewhere they will feel at ease. So when bullying happens at school, they will find reasons to not go to school and just stay home. Sometimes, if you try to talk them out of going to school, they will find reasons.
What you can do about it: Other than just being lazy to go to school, if you feel that your kids stay away from school for a serious reason, ask them why. Oftentimes, they will mask their feelings and tell you reasons that might be normal for any parent to hear. If you suspect that there’s something deeper, ask direct questions. Does anybody from school hurting them? Does he/she feel she’s not welcome at school? It may be difficult at first, so try to make them feel that you’re there to listen.
4. Their school grades start dropping.
Along with their self-esteem dropping, school grades of children being bullied will start to go down too. It’s because they will have trouble concentrating and will lose their focus.
What you can do about it: Don’t pressure them to get high grades. Ask them if something is bothering them that may affect their school standing. If you can’t get your child to talking about his/her problem, try to ask his/her classmate about how your child acts at school. You can also discuss with his/her teacher about his/her performance and perhaps, work together to help your child cope with his/her problem.
5. They become withdrawn from the family.
Usually, children being bullied want to be alone, often isolating themselves from their family. Because of the emotional stress that they’re going through, some children who are bullied keep problems to themselves. They think that people will not understand how they’re feeling.
What you can do about it: If you find your child isolating himself/herself from your family, try to keep them company and help them release what they feel by talking to them. Encourage them to get involved in family activities and make them understand that your family is the safest place for them to be in.
6. Increased fighting with siblings.
While some children being bullied go quiet and turn away from their family, some of them release their aggression towards other people or their siblings. More often than not, they are the ones instigating the fight.
What you can do about it: If you notice increased fighting among your children with one of them showing feelings of aggression and hatred, go talk to that child alone and help him/her express himself/herself to you. Identify where his/her aggression is coming from. Tell him/her that you are always available and are concerned about him/her.
These are just some of the warning signs that your child might be bullied at school. Remember that you must observe any change in your child’s behaviour and think before reacting. Sometimes, children being bullied act differently that parents must have more patience and understanding in interacting with them.
But most importantly, reassure them over and over again that you believe in them and you are there to help them and will never leave them.
However, if your child continues to behave in an unlikely manner and you believe he/she might be bulled, seek the help of a trained mental health professional.