How To Help Your Child if Being Bullied - Advice for Parents
Although some consider bullying a normal part of growing up and that there is too much fuss about it, it can cause serious distress for the bullied. Bullying can lead to depression and in some cases even suicide. If you suspect that your child may be bullied, you should therefore take it very seriously.
Recognising the Signs of Bullying
If your child is being bullied, he or she is unlikely to tell you about it. The research has shown that many children don’t want to talk about it, especially with their parents. For that reason it is highly important not to assume that everything is fine and watch for signs of bullying. They may include:
- physical injuries such as bruises
- damaged clothing or other personal things
- decline in academic performance
- reluctance, fear or nervousness about going to school/extracurricular activities
- increased irritability, withdrawal and other mood changes
- frequent complaints about headache or stomach ache
- sleeping difficulties
- poor eating
- aggression towards family members
- few friends
What To Do if Your Child Is Showing Signs of Being Bullied
If your child is showing signs of being bullied, you should act immediately in order to prevent things from getting out of control. You are recommended to:
Talk to your child. He or she may be reluctant to talk to you about being bullied but it is very important to be persistent. However, stay calm and patient. If your child refuses to talk to you about it, ask your partner or other family member to encourage your child to reveal what happened. Also, make sure that your child understands that it isn’t his or her fault.
Learn as many details as possible. Who is bullying your child, where, who else was there, how long it is going on, etc. If it can help ttry and monitor behaviour and social media use. Also, ask your child what if anything he or she has done about it but be sure not to make him or her feel guilty for doing anything or nothing.
Suggest your child how to react to bullying. Suggest your child to walk away, stay close to his or her friends or tell the bully to stop either verbally or with body language. But don’t encourage your child to “fight back” because it may make things even worse.
Talk to your child’s teacher or school counsellor. Report the situation to your child’s teacher or school counsellor and ask them to take measures to prevent further bullying. Stay in touch with the school officials and if the problem continues, make an appointment at the school principal. If your child is being physically bullied or otherwise threatened, demand immediate investigation from school authorities or turn directly to the police.
Seek professional help if your child is seriously emotionally distressed. If your child is seriously upset about the whole thing or seems depressed, talk to your child’s doctor about professional help.