If you suspect that your child is being bulled, there are signs you can watch for:
- Is your child coming home with torn/damaged clothing or missing things?
- Is your child coming home with physical symptoms like bruises or scratches?
- Is your child becoming increasingly afraid to go to school, ride the bus or take part in school activities?
- Has your child lost interest in school activities suddenly?
- Is your child complaining about physical ailments (stomachaches, headaches) often?
- Does your child appear sad or moody when they come home from school?
- Has your child shown a loss of appetite, more anxiety or low self esteem?
This list is not conclusive. The best thing you can do is watch for changes in normal activity and keep open lines of communication.
There are many long terms effects of bullying that your child could suffer from. Remember that this is not a conclusive list:
- The stress that bullying causes can affect your child’s engagement and learning is school.
- Kids that are bullied are more likely to be depressed, lonely, anxious, have low self-esteem and possibly think about suicide.
- Bullying can cause a child to be fearful of going to school, use the bathroom, or even ride the bus.
Here are some things to keep in mind when approaching a bully situation:
- Kids can be scared to go to an adult and even feel that adult intervention can make the situation worse because it may only bring more harassment from the bully.
- In survey of 14 Massachusetts schools, more than 30 percent of kids believed that adults did little to nothing to be the bullying stop.
- Sometimes the bully can also be a victim. Remember that they are still kids and they need help as well.
- Talk to your kid. Let them know that you are concerned about them and that you want to help. Ask lots of questions.
- Let them talk and listen to what they have to say. It is important to not brush off bullying as normal or invalidate their feelings. Remember that they are hurting.
- Be in communication with their teacher. Talk to them about what your child has said and ask them to talk to other adults who interact with your child to see if they’ve observed the bullying. You may also try your child’s guidance counselor or even the principal.
- Children who are bullied need extra care. They need:
- To know that they can talk about what’s happened and how they feel about it
- Protection from adult supervision and adult intervention
- Good relationships with both their peers and the adults who support them
- To know that it is not their fault
- Potentially ongoing counseling.
– Teen Lifeline – This is a confidential and free peer to peer hotline where other teens can help you through your tough time. 602-248-TEEN (8336)
– You, as the parent, can also call Teen Lifeline to learn about ways to help your child deal with a bully.
– You can also find tips online at kidshealth.org