I think my child is being bullied, but he says everything is fine. What are some signs to look out for?
Many times children say everything is fine because they worry that speaking up will make the bullying get worse. When looking for signs, keep in mind that what you're seeing may mean your child is being bullied, but not necessarily. You'll need to investigate further to figure out what's going on.
Here are some signs to look for:
- Is your child afraid of going to school? There is a reason kids have this fear; it could be their dislike for the teacher, they're not confident about the work or, possibly, they're being bullied.
- Does your child come home missing belongings? Maybe they were lost or maybe they were taken.
- Does your child rush to the bathroom as soon as he gets home from school? He could be afraid to enter the bathroom at school.
- Does your child come home from school extremely hungry? This doesn't necessarily mean he's a victim, but maybe someone is taking his lunch or his lunch money.
A few other symptoms to look for are frequent stomachaches, headaches, bruises or cuts, sleeplessness, ulcers, trips to the school nurse, nausea, depression, anger and hostility.
To open communication, try asking your child pointed questions:
- Is there any bullying happening at your school?
- Who is the bully in your class?
- Who bugs others on the bus?
- If a friend were being picked on, would you help him?
- How would you handle it if someone wanted to pick on you?
The more you talk about the topic, the more comfortable your child will be coming to you for guidance.