You may be unsure if your child is involved in a bullying incident. He or she could be acting as a bully, being bullied or upset because they have seen others behaving badly but how can you tell that your children are being bullied?
Frequent headaches and stomachaches
Headaches and stomachaches are signs of stress and, or, anxiety both of which are commonly linked with bullying. If your child often complains of headaches or stomachaches this could be the first warning sign, especially if these are happening in the mornings before leaving for school. Many people believe you should use these signs as an opening point to talk with your child by asking questions like “You seem to be feeling sick a lot lately; can you tell me more about that?” Asking open-ending questions creates a non-confrontational space where you can discuss the root of the problem.
Crying or intense emotional reactions
If your child breaks into tears or shows a more emotional reaction than usual when being asked about their day, this could also be a sign of bullying. Again, you should try to avoid any confrontation during these situations.
Lack of eating
If your child or teen comes home from school and you realise they’ve had very little, if any, of their lunch this is also a common sign of bullying. It may mean that they feel uncomfortable eating in the dinner hall where they know their bully may be so they choose to avoid this area instead.
Torn clothing and physical marks
Of course, this is the most obvious sign of bullying. Again, it’s best to ask open-ended questions: “What happened today at school?”; “How did you feel when that happened?”.
How to Prevent Bullying
- Help kids understand: Talk to your kids about what bullying is, how to act safely if they’re being bullied and how to ask for help if they’re being bullied.
- Communication: Talk to your kids on a frequent basis, listen to them, find out who they’re friends with and try to pick up on any change in their communication to you.
- Be a good role model: Try to avoid any confrontational activity in front of your child, this includes things like road rage.
Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. Because of this, it’s recommended that you spend 30 minutes of your day to find out how their day was by asking regular questions, “What was one good thing that happened today? Anything bad happen? What is lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? What do you talk about?”
By doing this daily you should be able to pick up on any changes in your childs behaviour or activities.