How to Spot Signs of Bullying?
As your kids grow older, there is a tendency that they start to hide things from you in a bid to be more independent. However, as a parent, it is your responsibility to be perceptive and be able to tell when something is amiss no matter how busy you may be. This is why it is super important that your relationship with your child(ren) is solid. Your child should always have it in the back of their minds that you are forever a safe space and that they can come to you with any and everything. This way, even when something goes wrong, they know that you’ve got them, no matter what.
One of the biggest challenges that bullied children face is embarrassment, especially if male. Given the society we live in and that impression that “they are men”, boys may feel the need to hide whatever makes them seem or look weak.
Another thing that keeps them quiet is fear. The perpetrator threatens them to the point of abject terror that they almost never report any wrongdoings. Terrified that the worst will happen, they keep mute and die in silence.
But there are signs that would lead you to suspect that your child is being bullied. These include:
This may be the first hint that your child is being bullied. If they come home wounded and there is no logical explanation for any of the injuries, you should be concerned. Try to corroborate whatever story with a trusted teacher in their school.
If your child starts to cry easily or gets easily upset, which is not usual, be very wary. Mood swings are also common in bullied children. They may become withdrawn or start stammering. Some even get aggressive and unreasonable to the point of targeting siblings.
Change in eating habits
If all of a sudden your child skips out on mealtime, or pushes food around in their plate or just shows a lack of interest in meals, which is very unusual of them, you might want to start asking questions.
Sleeping difficulties or nightmares:
Your child might be fighting battles even in their sleep. They might be so ridden with fear that they start to have nightmares. Be there to comfort them and find out what the nightmares are about, especially if it’s recurring. If they aren't ready to talk at the time, don't pressure them. Simply make it a point to ask later when they’re more relaxed.
Lack of interest in school
Children usually are not so excited about school in general. This is a lot different than a complete lack of interest, an obvious show of fear of going or a blunt refusal to go to school. If they go by themselves, take note of any changes in their route or any fear of walking to school. Also, if there is an unexplainable decline in their school grades, there might be something wrong. You should be concerned and ask questions.
Lost or destroyed properties:
This can range from torn or missing notebooks or clothes to even broken technological devices. When you begin to notice a pattern, you should get to the bottom of it.
There are several signs to look out for in children and they might not always apply in every instance but you know your child the best and you should know when they don't seem like themselves or are acting out of character.
When getting the story from your child, you need to be very gentle. Remember that they are scared enough as it is, so focus on reassurance. Tell them that it is okay for them to be scared and that you’ve got them and you wouldn't let any harm come to them. Let them know that you get scared sometimes too and it is only human for them to feel this way and that you are there to keep the monsters and bullies away. The truth is momma, what you say and how you react will determine if they lock up or confirm your suspicions.
It is very important that your child also speaks to a child therapist. They are experts when it comes to child mental health. You aren’t expected to know everything momma, so seek help for your child. Honestly, it might be difficult to think clearly in situations like these because it is instinctive to be very protective of your baby and this might cloud your judgment. Bullying is quite a delicate matter and you need all the help you can get to determine what your next step would be and ensure your child heals properly and completely. We know that you are worried about your little cub but remember that this isn’t about you, it is about them and whatever fear you might have, they are probably experiencing it two or more times over. So tread carefully.
You’ve got this and we wish you and your child safety and the very best always.
Lots of love!