Spot Bullying and Stamp it Out For Good December 6, 2021 – Posted in: Blog, Bullying – Tags: Bully
Many children suffer long periods without ever telling anyone that they are being physically or mentally abused at the hands of a bully. As a parent it is vital that you know what the signs of a bullied child are, and the steps to take to stamp out the bullying for good.
Many parents have the wrong attitude towards bullying. Some think that it’s mostly harmless teasing that toughens children up and prepares them for the big bad world they will be living in as adults. Unless their child is coming home from school with bruises, cuts, and tears flowing then they probably won’t even realize that there’s a problem. Some are bullies themselves, and will quite happily ignore any issues, or simply use the dreaded, “stand up for yourself” command. These are not the correct ways to stamp out or ease any problems.
Studies show that around 50% of children report being bullied with around 15% saying that the bullying occurs on a daily basis. These are staggering and very depressing numbers. There is a therefore a high probability that your child will be confronted with nasty bullying behavior at some point during her schooling.
If you have been through bullying yourself, or if you have experience of dealing with a bullied child, then you will know how much of a negative impact it has on a child. It can destroy a child’s confidence and make her physically sick. It can ruin her whole school life, making her feel friendless, unsupported, isolated, depressed, shy, nervous, anxious, scared, and it can rip apart the very essence of her well-being to the point where her health greatly suffers. Harmless teasing that she should deal with? I don’t think so!
If your child is unfortunate enough to suffer from being the target of a bully, or bullies, then it is not guaranteed that she will come to you for help and support. Do not assume that because you haven’t been approached by your child for help that no help is needed. The fear that goes with being bullied is immense, and children often do not seek assistance from anyone. As a responsible parent that loves your child deeply, you therefore need to know what to look out for, to notice the signs and signals that may point to your precious offspring being targeted by bullying types.
Some of the signs to look out for that may be an indication that your child is being bullied are:
– Not enjoying school and looking for ways to avoid attending.
– Bruises, cuts, welts, scratches, rips in clothing with no proper explanation for them.
– Sudden changes in the route to school or avoiding the school bus.
– Being ill on the mornings before school.
– Bed wetting or an unusually poor sleep routine.
– Asks money more often, or starts stealing.
– Seems to dread attending school.
– Her possessions go missing.
– Says she is okay when clearly she is not.
– Becomes withdrawn, anxious, or depressed, and refuses to talk about it.
– Shows signs of becoming a bully herself, especially to her siblings.
– Unwilling to participate in school activities.
– Shows an interest in suicide.
– Her school work deteriorates or grades go down suddenly.
– Has nightmares or cries herself to sleep.
– Her eating suffers – doesn’t seem hungry.
– Starts skipping school.
– A sudden drop in confidence.
– You notice a difference in the way her peers treat her.
– Has far less friends than you would expect, or misses out on social activities.
– Insists that you take her to school for no obvious reason.
– Shows a big difference in her mood at weekends or holiday times.
– Any sudden changes in personality, habits, or mental state.
Of course, some of these signs will not point to bullying at all and are completely normal in the average child’s life, but look out for abrupt changes and a combination of signs. It is essential that you be aware at all times, ready to act if you think that bullying may be the cause of any of these troubles, and communicate with your child about it as soon as possible.
As soon as you know your child is the victim of bullying then talk to her as soon as possible. Be gentle, reassuring, and understanding. Do not try to brush away the problem or make it seem small and insignificant because it is not. Ensure that you tell her that it is not her fault – many children feel that they are to blame when they are bullied. Try to discover the depth of the bullying. If it’s a teasing issue, encourage tried-and-tested methods that might help. Ignoring the bully, walking away, or using humor to deflect the bullying, is sometimes the perfect solution.
If you need to contact your child’s school for help then write down what is happening, who is doing it, and when it is occurring. You child may not want you to intervene, so explain that the school is used to dealing with bullying and most bullying situations need adults to intervene to stop them. As you begin to tackle the bullying be sure to keep an ongoing record of every step taken and everything that your child tells you is happening. Be as accurate as you possibly can because bullies can be extremely good at denying and twisting the truth to support their actions.
Seek the help of your child’s teacher at first to form a plan of action to stop the problem. Your child’s school should have an anti-bullying strategy or trained anti-bullying staff.
Do not attempt to confront the bully yourself, or the family of the bully. Your emotions are almost certain to be running very high in defense of your child, and it’s likely that you will make the problem worse. Do not seek revenge – just focus on stopping the bullying.
Schools have anti-bullying policies in place and these are usually very effective. As soon as it is necessary, your child’s school will contact parents of the bully and explain the consequences of continued harassment. If the problem persists then these consequences should be enforced immediately.
By learning what to look for, spotting the signs from your child and talking to her, understanding the problem and being sympathetic, and acting in the appropriate way, you should be able to put an end to a thoroughly miserable part of your child’s life.
By Gary Thomas