Uncovering the signs of bullying – part 2

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Uncovering the signs of bullying – part 2Whether your children are leaders or followers, confident or socially awkward, they have without doubt experienced bullying firsthand, either by witnessing bullying, being a victim, instigating or perpetrating it.

Children may not disclose that they or a friend is being bullied for several reasons which may include:

  • Shame
  • Fear of further recrimination by the bully if an adult intervenes
  • Fear of not being believed
  • Concerns being dismissed (e.g.  adults saying the bully is a good kid and bullying would be out of character)
  • Adults advising or expecting the child to “suck it up” and ignore or put up with the bullying

It’s critical that adults listen without judgment, support the child in his disclosure and move to find out more information.  However, even if your child doesn’t admit to being bullied, many signs may point to it. These include:

  • Avoiding or refusing to go to school
  • Missing money or personal items
  • Torn clothing
  • Constant but vague complaints of sickness
  • Changes in eating habits, sleep patterns, school work/grades and grooming habits
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Lessened interest in daily activities like outdoor play, walking the dog, etc.

Uncovering Bullying

Keep the lines of communication open at all times so that your child is comfortable coming to you with any problems that he or she may have. Simply asking, “How was your day?” rarely gives you a true picture of your child’s social life. Instead, ask your child specific questions such as:

  • “Who do you usually play with at recess? Do you play alone or with other children?”
  •  “Are you ever teased at school?”
  • “Do other children get teased or harassed?”
  • “What things do other kids tease you about?”
  • “How long have they been teasing you?”
  • “Did you tell the teacher when it happened?”

Again, listen without judgement. Create an atmosphere that is open, honest and non-judgmental so that your child will be more inclined to share their ups and downs with you.

Our Worst Fears Realized

Since your children were babies you’ve committed to protecting them physically and emotionally.  You agonized the first time they crossed the street alone, fell from their bike, didn’t get an invitation to a classmate’s party or got overlooked when peers picked teams in gym class. As a parent, you’ve done your best to protect your children from the hardships of life.  Then one day, your son or daughter returns home from school in tears. Your suspicions may finally be confirmed or you may be blind-sided by your naiveté……your child is being bullied.  What do you do now?

Please join us for Part 3 of this series to learn what to do if your child is a victim of bullying.

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