How Do I Know If My Child Is Being Bullied?
- Seems moody and withdrawn. May cry easily.
- Has trouble going to sleep and experiences sudden loss/gain of appetite.
- Grades drop. Feigns illness to avoid attending school.
- Returns home from school with scratches or bruises.
- Possessions or cash are damaged or missing – yours and theirs.
- Spends a lot of time alone. Bullies younger children.
- Takes a longer route to and from school and is afraid to get on the bus.
- Loses confidence. May stammer. Neglects appearance.
Since silence surrounds the culture of violence. Knowing how to approach your child is crucial. Begin by asking a few questions:
- Are there any new kids in your class this year? Are you still hanging out with your old friends? Use names if you know who they are.
- Who do you hang out with at recess? What do you do?
- Are there any kids you don’t like?
- Do kids pick on other kids? Has anyone ever picked on you?
Chances are your child will maintain that all is well. Since many of the signs don’t support it, you will need to be more direct. For example:
- “I’m worried about you. Your favorite jacket is missing, you spend all your time alone and suddenly you say that you’re feeling sick too often. What’s going on? Are kids picking on you at school?”
If your child admits it, see CAB’s Parent Bully Card and follow the steps that tell you how to help your child safely.
If your child denies it, keep watching and asking. If you’re still suspicious, alert the principal, teacher or school counselor about your concerns.
“Be There When Your Child Is In Trouble - Before You Have A Troubled Child”
Managing A Bullying Situtation
Step One: Acknowledge your child's courage. Thank your child for being courageous and keeping you informed.
Step Two: Gain your child's trust. Assure your child that whatever is discussed is confidential. Acknowledge your child's feelings and perspective and tell him/her that it’s not their fault.
Step Three: Return some power to your child. Assure your child that both of you will discuss every step to stop the bullying and ensure that h/she is comfortable before taking the next one.
Step Four: Inform the school. Don’t contact the bully’s parents. If your child has been physically attacked or threatened, involve the police.
The Victim – Empowering Your Child
- Advise your child to try to deflect the bully with humor or by changing the subject. Give him/her the language.
- Tell your child to try and get away immediately, and report the bullying to the nearest adult. *Kids who can't get away are advised to scream, make lots of noise and attract attention, so that an adult can come to the rescue or a bystander can run for help.
- Create a secret password. If they’re ever in a situation when that is all they have the chance to say, you will know what that means.
- A bully is less likely to bother someone if they look tough. Role-play with your child on how to walk with attitude and purpose.
- Instruct your child to hang out with others and avoid isolated areas.
- Their self-esteem will need boosting. Remind them of how much they are loved and valued.
“Learning is Impaired when Children are Scared”
Click here to download the parent card [word doc.]