Unfortunately bullying does exist, and it’s something parents need to look out for. There are many signs you can look for that will help you determine whether or not your child is being bullied, and there are lots of ways you, the parent, can help a bullied child, too.
3 signs your child might be being bullied:
1. CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR: It’s important to watch your child’s general mood, behavior and emotional state. One sign to watch for when you’re concerned your child may be a victim of bullying is a sudden change in mood or behavior. If your generally happy child swings into a depressed state that might be a clue they’re being bullied. If your child decides all of a sudden that they want to drop out of a program or activity or they become reluctant to go to school that is another potential sign of bullying. Pay attention to your child’s emotional state as it can explain a lot about their well-being and shed light on any number of difficulties they may be experiencing.
2. LOST OR DAMAGED BELONGINGS: If your child begins to come home without lunch money, jewelry, etc. Or if they come home with ripped clothing or damaged belongings they may have experienced bullying. Don’t jump to conclusions as bullying may not be the case, but it’s certainly a possibility. Bullies often times take things from other kids and or force kids to hand over certain belongings. If a bully is physically hurting your child you’ll want to look for rips in clothing along with marks, scratches and/or bruises on your child’s body.
3. COMES HOME HUNGRY AND LATE: Many bullied children arrive home from school hungry and or late. If they consistently come home hungry even though you’ve packed them an extra snack then a bully might be taking their food at lunch every day. And if they come home late, consider they might be missing the bus or taking the long way home in order to avoid a bully all together.
How parents can help:
There are lots of ways that parents can get involved. My No. 1 recommendation is to learn to communicate with your child. You’ll need to be able to talk to one another before you’ll be able to ask or answer those difficult questions. Building a relationship with strong communication also will increase the chance your child will open up to you about being bullied in the first place.
Many resources are available within local communities these days, too. Start with your child’s school and reach out to teachers, principals and counselors — even the school nurse or your child’s bus driver! The more adults you have looking out for your child the better. A school counselor will likely know about support groups and or anti-bullying activities within the community, and a principal or teacher will be able to deliver the appropriate consequences should the bullying be occurring on school grounds.