As your children enter pre-school/elementary school, we as parents are filled with mixed emotions. Unfortunately, bullying has severely increased over the years. Which makes it important to be on the look out as parents for any warning signs.
We need to empower our children to speak up. Many children suffer in silence and never mention anything, not even to a close friend. Realistically, parents are usually the last to find out. By the time the parents find out, the bullying has more than likely been escalating over a long-period of time causing the child to suffer emotionally and/or physically.
Usually children are too embarrassed to come forward. Another reason for not speaking up could be because they believe what is happening to them is what they deserved or just afraid to tell their parents. They also could be scared of the bullying worsening if they come forward.
Here are 5 ways to spot bullying in your school aged child:
Abnormal fear to attend school
School is usually where most bullying takes place. It’s very important to learn your child’s “normal” behavior towards school. Many children have a normal behavior of not wanting to go to school once in a while. If you notice this more frequent than usual with odd behaviors such as extreme excuses, don’t brush it off. This is definitely a red flag you want to look into because your child might be a victim of bullying.
Unexplained cuts, bruises or scratches
These are usually obvious signs of bullying. It’s important to always keep an eye out for any new marks on your child’s body. The best approach to this is to ask open-end questions. Children are usually not able to explain how they got the marks or probably don’t even want to explain it. Start by asking, “What did you do during recess today?” “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “Was everyone playing nice?”
Trouble sleeping/Frequent nightmares
Sleep is an important factor for growing children, anything that intervenes that is a red flag. If your child is having trouble sleeping throughout the night, bed wetting or waking up multiple times each night, it could be signs of bullying. Nightmares are common in children but if it continues and happens frequently you might want to analyze what is the cause of it.
Unusual Distance from Family
We can agree that most children are a non-stop talking machine in which never run out of questions or topics to talk about. If you notice your child more quiet than usual or secluding themselves from family members, it could be a sign of bullying. Another sign is if your child is taking their frustrations out on their siblings. If you feel things are off, your instincts are usually right. Talk to your child and see what’s going on.
Shift in Friends
As children, they make new friends all the time. As long as they don’t complain of having no friends, you’re usually in the clear. A major red flag is if your child has no friends or if they come home saying “no one wants to be my friend”. Ask them questions like who they eat with during lunch or play with during recess. Try to reach out to the teacher and work together to get to the bottom of the situation.
It’s always important to address the red flags sooner than later. Detecting any possible red flags and addressing it immediately. No parent wants their child to be a victim of bullying. Timing is everything when it comes to bullying. Educating your child very early on is key. If they are aware of the signs, what to do, who to talk to, they could possibly prevent or stop any possible bullying.
What other ways can you help spot bullying?