Bullying in school: Signs parents should watch out for
Knowing the signs of bullying can help parents take action on time to protect their children
If you want your child to talk to you when something goes wrong, you need to maintain an open line of communication. Let them feel more comfortable so they can tell you if they are being bullied. Some parents have a habit of mercilessly flogging their kids to impart discipline, but this is a very wrong approach.
Corporal punishment might work for a while, but ultimately, it would make your kids fear you in the long run, and they won’t feel comfortable talking to you about personal matters. Still, most children feel embarrassed to tell their parents if they’re being bullied, so keep an eye out for some of the signs below:
- Complaining of a stomach ache or body pains
- Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Not wanting to go to school
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Change in technology use (your child may stop answering calls or texts or shutting off from social media)
- Problems at school (skipping classes and lower grades)
If you notice two or more of the above signs, you need to address the issue quickly before it escalates. Be compassionate and supportive when asking your child about what has been happening in school. Please encourage them to tell you the truth by convincing them that you are on their side and you’re only trying to help them. If one of their classmates is the bully, reach out to the school and partner with a teacher to take action.
What about cyberbullying
Long ago, bullying only took place at school, so kids had an escape after school, but with the advent of social media, people can say whatever they want anytime. Cyberbullying includes sending mean or inappropriate texts, posts, and pictures on social media, and it should not be taken lightly. In addition, cyberbullies often create anonymous user accounts, so it is difficult for victims, parents, or law enforcement to find them.
You might not be able to catch cyberbullies, but you can ensure they don’t have any negative impact on your kids. Talk to your children about cyberbullying and let them understand that anyone can post whatever they want on social media. Remind them that the power to ignore these derogatory comments lies in their hands and if they are affected, they can talk to you about it.
What if my child is the bully?
Don’t get defensive if you find out from your child’s school or other parents that your child is a bully. Instead, thank them for bringing it to your attention and get details about the incident before you speak to your child. Let your kid know that you heard they are bullying and gently ask for their side of the story. Ask your child if they were bullied too because most times, being bullied can cause a child to inflict the same pain on others. Talk to your child about how their actions negatively affected the victim and encourage them to make amends. If the bullying persists, they need external help.