How do I know if my child is being bullied?
Look for the warning signs.
Trying to find out what is happening in the lives of some children can be a little like getting blood from a stone.
They can resist all your attempts to find out what is happening or see your interest as prying or meddling.
Other children can be a little like open books – they are talkative and readily part with information about all manner of things.
Children are often reluctant to discuss bullying with their parents so it helps to be on the lookout for warning signs.
Some research suggests that around 20 per cent of bullying goes unreported so it can be difficult spotting children who experience bullying. However, kids will usually show signs in three ways:
1. Acting out: This includes outward signs such displays of unusual aggression at home, talking about hating school and getting into trouble more often.
2. Acting in: This includes more subtle behaviour changes such as sullenness, withdrawing from usual activities, being uncommunicative, feigned illness, bed-wetting and altered sleep patterns.
3. Telltale signs: This includes more obvious physical signs such as torn clothes, items missing, altered route school routes and physical injuries.
Children who are bullied usually display a combination of these signs.
Children often find it hard to communicate that they are being bullied.
Some don’t have the language required. Many kids feel ashamed, or even believe what bullies tell them.
Sometimes kids are also reluctant to tell adults about bullying, as they fear that they will take the matter out of their hands, so your approach needs to be gentle and non-judgmental.