Is your Child being Bullied?

Is your child being bullied?
Even though we know children are sweet and innocent, it is also a fact that bullying is a problem many children face. It is a problem many of us have faced in childhood. This can happen in the school, play area or now to add to parents list of things to be concerned about, we also have cyber bullying. Many times, children do not want to talk about being bullied and keep it to themselves. This makes it difficult for parents to help the child. Bullies also threaten the victims that they would be punished more if they told their parents which makes the children really scared. So, how do we find out if our kids are being bullied?Here are some signs that your child may be bullied and may require further investigation to make sure everything is ok.
  • Missing school- A sudden reluctance to go to school
  • Unexplained physical injuries- Sudden bruises with no explanation
  • Unexplained damage/loss of child's possessions- Constantly asking for things saying they are lost
  • Change in daily habits and behavior- Moodiness, sulking, loss of appetite, withdrawal, unexplained irritability
  • Difficulty in sleeping  Nightmares, waking up often, eyes showing fatigue in the morning
  • Bullies the younger ones- Sudden uncharacteristic violence towards siblings
7040908861_f56d66f8b5_bIf the parents notice any of these signs in the child, there could be a possibility that the child is being bullied. Kids usually don't open up regarding this matter to adults. So, parents have to figure out a way to get the child to get comfortable enough to share. Maybe they can take them out for a walk or an ice cream, have a casual conversation and then gently bring up the subject. It is important for parents to carefully watch for body language signs to see if the child is ok. Even after the talk, if you are convinced that the child needs help, it might be a good idea to take them to a therapist. Professionally qualified people might be able to get your child to open up fully and talk about their troubles and help with solutions as well. A parent can also talk to the friends of the child to see if they can glean any information about the situation.What are some of the things we parents can do to help the child whom we think/know is being bullied:
  • Listen: Parents have to listen and empathise with the child. Rather than just sympathising, it becomes essential for the parents to be supportive and try not to become emotional. We need to don many hats as parents, and in cases like this, we need to be conscious about our role as the first therapist of our child.
  • Don't get personal: But use your personal experience! If you have been bullied as a child, instead of bringing up those dreadful memories in great detail, tell your child that you have been in the same situation and can understand what they are going through. Then share with them how you coped with it or you wished you had handled it in a certain way. Be honest and sincere and your child will be able to see that.
  • Don't retaliate: Many kids do not share the fact that they are being bullied with their parents because of the repercussions. They don't want to create a scene at school and they do not want to be embarrassed and make the situation nastier than it already is. So, ask your child if it might be a good idea for them to interfere or if the child can handle it themselves. If the child gives permission, then step into the situation. Until then, be a back seat driver and try to help your child solve the problem by themselves.
  • Coach your child: You can role-play with your child about a potential scenario and how your child can react next time he is being bullied. You can together come up with the right responses for difficult situations and how they can avoid unpalatable situations or avoid them by being smart and being prepared.
  • Keep the school authorities informed: All schools are expected to have a no-bullying policy. It is the schools responsibility to stop bullying at school and in the school bus. So giving them the information about what is happening could make them more alert to such situations .However make sure that your child's privacy is being protected and he/she is not in greater trouble because of publicizing the event.
Whatever you do, it takes time for the child to get over the after effects of bullying. As a family, everybody needs to be supportive of the child. Recognise something the child is really good at doing, encourage the child in doing such activities, appreciate, keep them engaged and make it easier for them to overcome the bad memories.