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Saturday, May 26, 2012

What are the warning signs that your child is being bullied?

Unless your child tells you about bullying or has visible bruises or injuries it is difficult to know if your kid is being bullied. Many children, particularly boys and older children, do not tell their parents or adults at school about being bullied. Parents might notice kids acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things they usually enjoy. There are more warning signs which parents and teachers need to check.
First let's learn what kind of bullying your child can face at school?

Bullying can take many forms, such as ---

  1. Hitting and/or punching (physical bullying)
  2. Teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying) 
  3. Intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and 
  4. Sending insulting messages by phone or computer e-mail (cyber bullying)


Parents might notice kids acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things they usually enjoy. When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it might be because of a bully.
When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it might be because of a bully.

Warning signs which tell that a child is being bullied:

  • Sudden loss of interest in school and school work.
  • Frequently complains of physical ailments such as headaches and stomach aches.
  • Begins having unexplained nightmares or experiences troubling going to sleep.
  • Comes home appearing depressed, moody, sad or teary eyed without provocation.
  • Has scratches, bruises, cuts or scrapes that can’t be explained.
  • Appears afraid to go to school.
  • Sudden loss of appetite with bouts of anxiety.
  • Has torn or damaged clothes or missing belongings.
  • Has few or no friends. 
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Any combination of these warning signs may almost be a definite indication that your child is or has been bullied. However, the best course of action is to talk to your child. You can start with some indirect questions that are more like a conversation than anything.
If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and use it as a conversation starter, asking "What do you think of this?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" This might lead to questions like: "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" You might want to talk about any experiences you or another family member had at that age.

Let your kids know that if they're being bullied or see it happening to someone else it's important to talk to someone about it, whether it's you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.

Reference and more information: http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html


Related articles
Warning Signs Your Child is Being Bullied and Help (auctionshunter.wordpress.com)
Bullying (maycares.wordpress.com)
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