Signs of bullying and what to do next
Worrying that your child is the victim of bullying can be stressful and overwhelming.

By: Family - Family - 3/7/2017

  • Make a plan with your child about what to do if the bullying behavior persists.

Worrying that your child is the victim of bullying can be stressful and overwhelming.  If you’re unsure your suspicions are correct, you can look for these signs.  If your child has unexplainable injuries or frequently comes up with reasons not to go to school or not to engage in social activities with certain “friends", bullying might be happening.

Think back over the past few weeks or months.  Have you noticed a decline in your child’s grades or increased complaints of stomachaches or headaches?  Have eating or sleeping patterns changed?  If yes, these could indicate your child is under increased stress, possibly from bullying.

It can be hard for children to talk about bullying situations.  They might worry what will happen if they tell others about it.  Kids might be concerned about being considered weak or getting in trouble for being a tattletale.  They might not know who to talk to and end up isolating themselves further.

If you’ve noticed some of these behavior changes, it’s time for a conversation to get to the bottom of what’s going on.  When there is a calm opportunity…

Do:


  • Tell your child the specific changes you’ve noticed

  • Express your concern

  • Reassure your child that he or she is not in trouble

  • Gently encourage him or her to share what’s going on

  • Listen openly

  • Keep your own emotions, however strong, under control



Don’t:


  • Tell your child to ignore the bullying

  • Blame your child for the situation

  • Encourage your child to physically fight back



Make a plan with your child about what to do if the bullying behavior persists.  The plan can include parents contacting the teacher, school counselor, principal, or as a last resort, the school superintendent.  Ask your child what can be done to make him or her feel safe, within reason.  Decide how you will check in with one another on a regular basis about the situation.  Reassure your child about your commitment to helping.

The more support kids have from their parents, the less kids are involved in bullying—both as victims and perpetrators.  Good support from parents means helping kids as much as they need and actively showing you love them.  Strive to understand your children’s problems and worries and comfort them when they’re upset.

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