As a parent, you want your child to feel safe and secure at school. A large part of that security is being accepted by their peers. Although bullying is an old issue for school-aged children, technology has enabled the harassment to continue after the school day ends. The media has covered several instances of bullying in school and online that have resulted in tragic consequences for the victim. And believe it or not, children can experience bullying as early as preschool. If you suspect your child is facing some social challenges at school, you should look for some of the subtle signs your child is being bullied.
According to Parenting, experts define bullying as intentionally aggressive behavior which takes place over a period of time. This behavior can be in the form of verbal insults, physical aggression, or intentionally isolating the intended victim from the larger group. Not only can this behavior cause the victim to feel sad or lonely while it is happening, it can also have long-term effects on a child's self-esteem.
If your child is being bullied, he may either be unwilling or unable to tell you what's going on. Which is why it's important for you to watch for signs that he needs your help. Trouble sleeping, an unwillingness to go to school, and reluctance to share the details of his day, are just a few of the signs that you should look for. You can help your child cope by encouraging him to be brave, ignore the bully, and tell an adult, as Parenting suggests. You should also communicate with teachers and other parents, and enlist their help in keeping an eye on the situation.
1. They Have Chronic Physical Ailments
If you notice that your child complains about headaches, stomachaches, and other physical ailments, you may not need to call the doctor, as Stompoutbullying.org suggests. He may be trying to avoid issues with a bully.
2. They Come Home Hungry
Pay attention to how much your child is eating after school — especially if you're sending him to school with a hearty lunch. According to Care.com, if your child is hungrier than normal after school, it may be due to someone either taking his lunch money or making him feel uncomfortable in the cafeteria.
3. They Don't Want To Go To School
If getting out the door to school in the morning is a constant battle, something bigger may be going on. As bullying expert, Donna Clark-Love told Reader's Digest, Mondays are particularly tough for victims of bullying to return to school, as they've felt safe at home over the weekend.
4. They Are Reluctant To Talk About The Day
When your child has a good day, she wants to share all of the details with you. But according to Care.com, if your child is suddenly reluctant to share the details of her day with you, she may be facing issues with bullies and is either afraid or embarrassed to let you know.
5. They Have Trouble Sleeping
Your child's trouble with bullies may not only affect him at school, but they could also be keeping him up at night. A child who is anxious about being bullied at school may be having trouble falling asleep, according to Reader's Digest.
6. They Are Losing Or Damaging Personal Items
Kids lose things all the time, but you should keep an eye on how often your child is losing or damaging their belongings. According to Woman's Day, some children give away their personal items in order to be accepted by a particular social group.
7. They Have Cuts Or Scratches
If you notice cuts, scratches or bruises on your child's body, it's important to get as many details as possible. If he forgot or can't explain how the cuts got there, your child could be a victim of bullying, as Stomp Out Bullying suggested.
8. They Are Reluctant To Hang Out With Friends
As a parent, you know who your children's closest friends are. But if you suddenly notice that she either doesn't want to hang out with her best friends or that the invitations to play stop, there may be some bullying going on, according to Woman's Day.
9. They Are Withdrawn
A child who is bullied at school could feel lonely or isolated at school, and seek additional comfort from family members at home. As Parenting mentioned, a child who seems depressed or clingy at home may be experiencing some bullying at school.