Bullying is a common occurrence at school these days. Some children talk about it, whereas most shy away from it. Instead of reporting to the teacher and parents, children suffer in silence either because of fear or because they don’t have the confidence to face their bullies. Parents are always worried about their children when it comes to bullying and going to school. If your child won’t talk to you, then how can you know if they are being bullied or not?
The signs of bullying are very obvious at times, whereas other times it’s very subtle. Your child could also cover up the physical injuries. This is why you need to be alert for the different and multiple warnings that you get from your child indirectly that they need help. They can cover some signs, but all of it cannot be amiss. If you are worried about your child and want to know the signs of bullying, then read on, and it may help you to understand your child.
If your child is not open to honest communication, then these signs will tip you off for any bullying in your child’s school. It is also essential that as parents you make them aware of these signs of bullying as it can help them recognize when someone they know is being bullied and can get them the appropriate help.
Signs of bullying:
1. Avoiding school
When there is bullying in school, your child will not want to go to school. They may fake being sick for a test or two, but if they are reluctant to go to school every day, then this is a sign that they don’t feel positive and safe about going to school. When it comes to younger kids, you can monitor how many times the nurse calls you with an injury; with teens, you need to check their attendance with the school authorities as they might skip school altogether without your knowledge.
2. Frequent headache and stomach ache
The child suffers from anxiety and stress when there is bullying in school. Their stress and anxiety will manifest as their physical pain. They will feel often companion about headaches and stomach aches. The anxiety will cause their stomach to get upset frequently, and the stress can cause them to experience the symptoms of a severe headache.
3. Friendship Circle
The friendship circle of your child will be consistent for a long time. If there is a sudden change in it, or if they avoid their friends and refuse to go out and hang out with them, then it’s a sign of bullying kids in their friend’s group. Often there is bullying between friends. Children describe them as “mean” and tend to avoid them. If they have started to stay home more than usual, and don’t talk. about their friends, then you may need to sit them down and talk to them.
4. Trouble sleeping
Some children have nightmares as an effect of bullying. They may not get a good night’s rest and sleep due to this. Kids are sometimes unable to sleep due to the stress and anxiety of facing their bullies in school the next day. Their troubled sleep will be reflected in their moody behavior, upset stomach, loss of attention, dark circles, red and puffy eyes. You may wake yourself up due to their screams if their nightmares are scary for them.
5. The emotional reaction
If your child is reacting more emotionally than ever about topics such as school, friends, Friday-Saturday nights, then it could be a sign of suppressed anxiety, anger, and stress. If they avoid the topic in general or if they scream, shout, or burst at you for talking about school and friends, then they could be bullied at school which is causing them trouble in daily functions. In bullying signs for toddlers, they tend to react more emotionally towards topics of the school; and with teens, they are more likely to get emotional on topics such as Friday-Saturday nights, friends, and their social life.
6. Physical reminders
When you see your child come home with their clothes torn, jewelry amiss, or broken, with a black eye or bruises around their body and face, it’s a clear sign that they are getting bullied. Some children mask the signs of bullying in school by saying that they fell or had an injury during the sports period, but it’s best to inquire more and get to the root of the cause.
7. New kid
Usually, it is observed that children who are new in school get bullied. When your child is new, be extra vigilant and observant of their behavior. If your child has gotten quiet, seems reserved, or doesn’t have many friends, it could be a sign that your child is having a hard time getting accepted. In such situations, me v/s them arise quickly, and it could lead to some verbal and physical bullying.
8. Victim stance
If your child is getting bullied often and for a long period, they will lose their confidence and self-esteem. As such, it will show in their victim stance. If they flinch when you touch them, if they are quiet and are shy to speak their opinions, then they are facing some trouble in school. It could also make them brood in one corner of the house, they will smile less often, and there will be fear and anxiety in their eyes. They will have a general meek stance and avoid competition at all costs.
9. Change in appetite
Bullying in school kids can result in your child either losing their appetite or eat a lot. They will binge eat or they will skip meals. It is very sudden, drastic, and extreme. Their eating patterns will depend on their reactions when they are anxious and stressed. The change in appetite can also be observed when often they don’t eat a lot and play with their food. They will make excuses and not sit at the dinner table.
When your child will be bullied in school, he or she will lose all interest in academia. Their grades will shoot down, and they may even fail a test or two. Your child might stop participating in activities related to school and they will have a general lack of interest in the upcoming sports game, drama, competitions, and exams. They might be in their room all day studying, but due to lack of attention, they will not comprehend much.
How to deal with bullying?
When your child is bullied, he or she may suffer through psychological and physical trauma. The severity of the same will depend on their repose and intensity of bullying. Whether your child is getting bullied, or you wish for them to be prepared for bullying, here is a little parental guide as to how to deal with bullying in school. Read on, and you can go through these points with your children.
Children often get bullied because they don’t know how to respond. The bullies are usually big and mean, and children can’t resort to a physical fight. When it comes to verbal responses, they can aggravate the bully if they back answer in a derogatory manner. This is why parents often wonder how to deal with bullying. You can prepare a list of responses for your child. You can teach them that to deal with bullying, they don’t have to become bullies themselves. You can sit down and list certain responses such as “back off, that wasn’t nice, whatever” etc. when they are subjected to bullying. They can simply walk away from the situation.
You can ask your child to enact the responses you have taught them if faced with a bully. This technique is the best for how to deal with bullying for toddlers. You can teach them to have a strong and firm voice. A whinny or crying voice will only provoke the bully further. When you will practice with them how to speak, what to speak, and the body language in various scenarios, they will feel more confident when dealing with it in person.
3. Body language
This point is especially applicable to toddlers. You can teach them to look in the eyes of their friends while speaking to them. They should also be taught to look in the eyes of their bully. Looking up with their chin raised will make them appear stronger. You can practice different expressions with them as well. Teach them a happy, sad, brave, and angry face. Ask them to show you their brave face often. This will promote positive body language from a young age and keep the mean kid away.
These days bullying and children go hand in hand. This is why you need to communicate with your child daily. Ask them about their day, their friends, and their school activities. Keep the communication open, honest, and calm. Your encouraging words and unconditional support will make them open up to you if they are getting bullied and you can take action before it’s too late. This regular conversation will also make you privy to any changes in their tones and communication style if they are hiding something.
5. Boost confidence
Encourage your child to participate in activities that make them more confident. Bullying in toddlers won’t happen with your child if they are confident. To boost their confidence, let them participate in competitions and win prizes. You can also remind them about their positive traits, and tell them often that they are brave and strong.
Your child doesn’t have to get into fights with all their bullies, rather it’s a safety precaution. When your child will see someone bullying school children, they can intervene and help the bullied child. Knowing how to defend themselves will be a boost in their confidence which will be seen in their demeanor. There are fewer chances of them getting bullied if they know how to protect themselves. Bullying isn’t limited to verbal abuse, and your child needs to be ready in case someone decides to throw a punch at him or her. You can let your child decide the self-defense style that they want to learn and enroll them for some sessions.
When you notice that your child is getting bullied, informing the school is not enough. You can involve the offender’s parents. Effects of bullying are severe, and as such you need to take matters in your hands. Contact the school and the parents of the bully and have a meeting with them. Putting some distance and giving the punishment to the bully will stop the bully from harassing your child.
8. Coping strategies
Strategies to deal with bullying can be taught to your child. They must be taught resilience and how to stay strong. You cannot let them be under confident and have a victim persona after one incident of bullying. As a parent, you can help them to become strong. Their strong persona will heed the other bullies in the opposite direction of your child.
When your child is getting bullied the situation is tense and not favorable. But teaching your child some strategies in advance will help them in dealing with it. They can learn how to defuse bullying via humor, talking, stalling, etc. You will be the mentor, source of strength, and comfort zone of your child if they are being bullied. So, as a parent, you have to stay strong as well.