It is a fact that thousands of children around the world skip or try to skip school every day because they fear being intimidated or hurt by other learners. This is why it is very important to know How To Spot Signs Of Bullying. Physical or verbal bullying can cause permanent emotional damage and lead to depression and low self- esteem. Bullying is an intentional and repeated act, and although the victims often find it difficult to defend themselves, they also struggle to look for the help of an adult out of fear or embarrassment. Learners who are bullied usually tend to avoid school as much as they can, rather than communicating the problem to their parents or a responsible adult.
In our digitalized world, bullying many times goes beyond the school walls and moves to social media as well. It is usually more difficult to control, as posts, messages or images spread out of the victim’s control. Therefore, it is important to control the sites that your child visits, set parental control on family devices and keep your child informed of the dangers of the internet. Parents should respect the age limits for social media sites, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Signs of Bullying:
There are some warning signs and hints that parents can notice if their children are being bullied at school.
Change in Behaviour
In first place, observe any significant change in your children’s mood, behavior or personality. If they suddenly become irritable, fearful, melancholic, or try to avoid company or activities they did before, it can be a sign of possible bullying. Unexplained marks, scratches or bruises or loss or damage of personal belongings, minor or valuable, are usually present in bullying cases. In these cases ask your children direct questions, such as “Your pencil case is broken. Did someone break it?” Observe their body language rather than the reply itself. Silence is usually an indicator too. Observing this is a great method of knowing how to spot signs of bullying.
Change in Habits
A significant change in sleeping and eating habits might be a warning sign too. Bullied children tend to have difficulties to sleep and have nightmares. Younger learners might wet their beds again. Regarding eating, if someone is taking their lunch they will be starving when they reach home and will eat more than before, or you might find the opposite scenario, children who stop eating and claim not to be hungry anymore.
Complain of Physical Pain or Problems:
When children are suffering bullying, health is impacted too, as the physical response to an emotional challenge. Learners usually complain of physical problems, such as head or stomach ache, menstruation in girls. They spend more time than the rest visiting the school nurse, and will try to be picked up and taken home. As mentioned before, changes in mood and personality are frequent. This is a great way of knowing how to spot signs of bullying. They can even become aggressive with younger siblings or parents, as an involuntary way to vent out the anger, fear and frustration they are undergoing.
School Performance and Participation:
Regarding school performance and participation, there might be a sudden and unexpected drop in grades. Bullied learners often refuse to participate in activities or clubs they enjoyed before, and seem to have fewer friends than before. They may refuse to make use of the school bus or go on educational trips, and suddenly become clingy in dispersal or arriving to school.
In summary, there are a series of warning signs that will help you parents detect if your child is being bullied, but the most important recommendation that we could offer is keeping an open communication with your children, speak to them, listen to them, and in case there is the slightest suspect, discuss it with the homeroom teacher at school, for an immediate and effective intervention. Therefore, it is vital we as parents know how to spot the signs of bullying.