Bullying at School: Is Your Child a Victim and You Don't Know It?
It’s important to know what the signs of bullying are because your child might not want to talk about the problem with you out of fear or shame.
School bullying is a very common problem indeed. Because of this, you have to be very attentive to any signs that could indicate that your child is bullied.
To put it briefly, bullying is harassment or psychological and physical abuse. It especially occurs between school children. A characteristic of bullying at school, as well as in other environments, is that it takes place on a regular basis or over a long period of time.
This type of behavior starts even when children are between the ages of three and six years old.
How Do You Know If Your Child Is a Victim of Bullying?
From an early age, it’s fundamental to teach your children the values of respect, friendship and trust. It’s also essential that they learn not to respond with aggression if someone does something to them.
They should be aware that they can talk about any problems and express their feelings, doubts or fears with their family members. They must feel free to talk with their relatives, in particular their parents.
If you don’t have good communication with your son or daughter, then you’ll never be able to tell if your child is the victim of bullying at school.
Your child could be afraid of telling you or wouldn’t dare mention it at home out of shame.
You might also observe certain behaviors that indicate things aren’t going well at school or with your child’s friends.
Behaviors Indicating Your Child Might Be the Victim of Bullying at School
Reluctance to Go to School
Victims of bullying may invent ailments in order to avoid going to school but be perfectly healthy when their parents take them to the doctor.
You should encourage your child to explain the reason for not wanting to go. Parents should build trust so that their children feel free to talk about what’s bothering them, why they feel bad or why they want to avoid school.
Changes in Behavior
These are changes that occur slowly and gradually, affecting your child’s personality. Victims of school bullying may not want to talk with older friends or family, although they used to be extroverted, for example.
Victims of bullying also get nervous when having to go to school, and their mood changes.
Fits of Anger and Violence or Irritability
In adolescent boys, it’s sometimes difficult to recognize these behaviors as warning signs because they’re likely to have a quick temper.
You must be aware that the trigger for that moodiness might be harassment, however.
Take a look at this article: 5 Tips for Raising a Healthy Teenager
Lost School Supplies or Clothing
Your child might start to lose personal items or school materials. Bullies often do this as a way to intimidate their victims. Besides, your child might start asking for money, just to give it to the bully.
Blackmail is typical of bullies. In fact, most of the time, the harassment to which school bullies subject their victims is psychological. This is according to Iñaki Piñuel, an expert on psychological violence and harassment and a professor at the University of Alcalá.
Common symptoms of bullying are primarily psychosomatic.
Your child might have different physical symptoms even when the harassment is psychological.
Some of the most frequent signs are:
- Pain upon waking up
- Dizziness and headaches
- Digestive problems or lack of appetite
- Tremors and palpitations
- Sleep disorders
- Change in performance at school
Victims of school bullying might become disinterested in their assignments, losing concentration and attention.
What Should Parents Do If They Suspect Their Child Is the Victim of Bullying?
If you’ve determined that your son or daughter is a victim of bullying or harassment, then the first thing to do is avoid blaming the child or yourself. Just because this has happened, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Besides, your child should feel safe and sound at home. Here are other helpful pieces of advice:
- Let your child know that he/she isn’t alone and can always count on you for help and to listen.
- Stay calm. Don’t show concern. Your child needs to see determination, a positive attitude and strength of character.
- Go to the school and talk to an authority figure. That person will help you find the right way to resolve this conflict.
- Communication must be maintained with the school so that you can count on its support and help both the victim and the bully (or bullies) receive a better education about non-aggression.
At home, emphasis should be placed on tolerance, friendship and mutual respect in order to help children grow up to be responsible adults. Your home is the main source of love and education for your children. Therefore, it’s there that they’ll learn values and behaviors.
Be aware of this and avoid confrontation, as well as physical and verbal aggression, so that they don’t start to mimic it elsewhere.