With school starting back up your child will be meeting all sorts of new friends and possibly a few foes. Although bullying can happen anywhere, schools are a prime place for bullying to start. Many schools have adopted strict anti-bullying rules and procedures, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Know the signs to watch for if you suspect your child is being bullied and what to do.
Signs of Bullying
Some kids will not display any signs at all if they are being bullied. Having good communication with them and ensuring they feel like they can talk to you about anything goes a long way. There are also some signs you can watch for which kids may display if they are a victim of bullying.
If your child is coming home with injuries they cannot explain or have difficulty explaining – they may be hiding something. Watch for lost and damaged items, as well as, how hungry your child is when they get home from school. If they are coming home hungry, they may not be having lunch or they could be practicing other food-related signs of stress such as binge eating or skipping meals.
Children who often fake sickness, do not want to ride the bus, or do not want to go to school may be avoiding someone at school or o the bus. They may have a loss of interest in school work with declining grades. Pay attention to their sleeping patterns as well. Are they sleeping much more than they normally do or are they sleeping much less? Are they having nightmares or experiencing sudden bed wetting?
Another way children show that they are being bullied – is becoming a bully. If they suddenly start showing aggressive or unwanted behavior towards younger siblings or others, they may be mimicking what is happening to them. They may also show signs of self-destructive behavior such as hurting themselves physically, drinking, drugs, and isolation.
What You Can Do
Do not ignore the problem. If you suspect the bullying is occurring at school, or on the bus, meeting with the school leaders. Talk to the principal, teachers, school counselor, and/or the school superintendent. Be sure they are aware of the problem and work with them to rectify the bullying.
Get your child help if they have been or are the victim of bullying and do everything in your power to ensure that it stops – immediately. If you are not happy with the actions by the school, don’t be afraid to escalate up the ladder until you are.
Keep them informed, and ensure they are keeping you informed on what steps they have put in place to stop the bullying. Even if your child has not been the victim of bullying – talk to them about it and keep your communication lines open with them. Stay involved with their lives and watch for sudden changes in them.