Bullying is still as prevalent today as it was when we as parents were growing up. Not only do we need to watch for signs that our own child is being bullied but also to make sure that our child is not the one being the bully.
There are a number of reasons why a child may become a bully. They may not have a good adult role model or if his own family members bully him, they may regard this type of behavior as normal. Other children may learn it from friends. They assume that this type of behavior will help them make friends or become popular. Children who feel isolated, perceive themselves as different, sensitive or have poor social skills are more likely to becoming a bully.
It also may be hard to tell if your child is the one being bullied. This may because they are ashamed about it and do not want to say anything. They may feel they will be criticized or that their parents will intervene possibly making the situation even worse. Some of the signs of a child who is being bullied are the following:
– Suddenly lower grades
– Lack of interest in schoolwork or after school activities
– Not wanting to go to school
– Unexplained injuries
– Belongings missing
If you suspect that your child is being bullied, it is important that you try to figure out what is going on. Ask them general questions about whether something is bothering them or not. Make sure that you allow them to explain the whole story, taking note of the details and without interrupting them. Avoid giving them premature solutions without getting a whole picture of the current situation. You may not get the whole story in the beginning so you may want to be patient and bring it up at another time.
So how can you help your child?
Tell them to avoid places where they are isolated and that no one can see or hear them. Let your child know that they should stay aware of when trouble may start and avoid it as much as they can by leaving the situation as soon as possible. If the bullying starts, they can try to deflect by using humor or by changing the subject. Make sure that your child is surrounding themselves around positive friends and always remind them of their awesome attributes. Always have them try to resolve the situation on their own first. But if they cannot or the bullying becomes physical, make sure they know that they should report it to an adult.