March 26, 2016

Signs Your Son or Daughter Is Being Bullied

Regrettably, the odds are against us and chances are that your child may be getting bullied. The fact is that over 160,000 students skip school each day because they are scared they are going to be intimidated or attacked by other students. Unfortunately, it is also a fact that bullying is taking place earlier and earlier and that students are more aggressive, and bullying more often, than ever before. If bullying isn’t caught early enough studies have shown that the severity of these aggressive behaviors increase with age. 

If your son or daughter is being bullied it means that their peers are intentionally causing him or her pain, either physically or emotionally. Unfortunately, many students don’t ever reveal that they are being bullied and without watching for the signs this repeated bullying may cause severe emotional harm and can cause self-esteem and mental health to deteriorate.

Bullying can come in many forms; physical, verbal and relational. Bullying, regardless of the form it takes, can cause equally harmful long term effects. Studies have shown that both girls and boys can experience high levels of emotional distress, loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression as a result of bullying.

The time is now to take the necessary steps to get ahead of bullying. The following warning signs may enable you to catch bullying in its early stages and put an end to these intentional, mean spirited acts that may be affecting the lives of your loved ones more than they are willing to admit.

  • Fear of attending school or other activities with peers.
  • Fear of riding the schools bus, or other peer shared transportation.
  • Fear of being left alone.
  • Physical marks such as scrapes, cuts or bruises.
  • Complaints of physical discomfort or pain such as stomach-aches, headaches etc. 
  • ‘Loss’ of personal belongings such as school supplies, lunches, money etc.
  • Damage to personal belongings such as clothes, school supplies, electronics etc.
  • Inexplicably sullen, withdrawn or evasive. Usually this is very sudden.
  • Change in normal personality or behaviour such as prolonged sadness, anger, anxiety, depression or mood swings.
  • Comments regarding feelings of helplessness or thoughts of suicide.
  • Tendency to blame self for problems.
  • Sudden difficulty sleeping. Can be accompanied by regular nightmares, crying oneself to sleep etc.
  • Sudden and often significant drop in grades or extracurricular participation.
  • Sudden and often significant loss of friends or desire to be alone.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Extreme hunger at the end of the day. Can be due to having lunch or lunch money stolen.
  • Needing to rush to the washroom at the end of the day. Can be due to fear of using unsupervised public/school washrooms.

It may take more than just watching for these sings to catch bullying. You may also need to voice your concerns, ask questions or dig deeper into the situation to fully understand what is taking place. Watch the reactions of your son or daughter as they answer questions or talk about their day; their body language may say more than their words. Don’t forget to emphasize that you are always there for them, that you believe in them and that you are there to help.

Should you feel that your daughter or son is being bullied, and they are unwilling to open up to you, try to organise a meeting with teachers, coaches or advisors. It is important to remember that not all bullying takes place in the classroom or on school grounds; try to determine where the bullying is taking place as this may help to determine what steps are necessary to stop it from reoccurring.

As a parent, guardian, sibling or friend it is important to not only understand bullying, but to watch for the signs. Your son or daughter may not be comfortable telling you about their pain at first, but together we can make a stand and teach the world to Bully No More.

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