Not so long ago, the torment and pain inflicted on bullied children by their peers was considered an unpleasant part of growing up, and largely dismissed as “kids being kids.” These days, however, as the Internet makes it easier for bullies to torture their victims around the clock and more kids turn to tragic ways of managing the stress that results from being bullied, awareness of this very serious problem is growing. While there are more protections being put in place by school administrators and parents for kids who are the victim of bullies, it’s still not always easy to determine whether or not your child is actually being targeted by bullies.
There are, however, a few signs to look out for that can indicate trouble with bullies in elementary students.
- Possessions Are Frequently Lost or Damaged – A few broken toys or lost possessions can probably be chalked up to common carelessness or reckless behavior, but when your child is frequently losing his things or coming home with broken possessions, he could be the target of bullies who are stealing from him or damaging his belongings.
- Unexplained Bruises or Wounds – Kids fall down, trip over things and are almost always sporting a skinned knee or a bruise. Unexplained bruises, wounds and physical signs of frequent injury, however, could indicate that the attention of bullies has become physically violent.
- Commonly Complaining of Illness – When a child who was once eager to attend school and spend time with his friends begins complaining of mysterious ailments or making dubious claims about feeling badly to get out of going to school, he may be trying to obtain a temporary reprieve from the attentions of a bully.
- Avoidance Tactics – Suddenly taking a longer route home from school, refusing to ride the bus, dropping out of extracurricular activities and other unexplained avoidance tactics are a common sign of bullying.
- Changes in Personality or Demeanor – Kids who are being targeted by bullies may become withdrawn, angry or clingy where they were once bubbly, gregarious and outgoing. Any sudden change in personality should be looked into, especially if you think that your child could be the victim of bullies.
- Sleep Disruptions – Nightmares, difficulty sleeping and bed-wetting can all be signs that a child is being bullied at school. This especially holds true if the problems have cropped up suddenly, and historically have not been an issue for your child.
- Change in Eating Habits – Kids who are ravenous when they get home from school may be so hungry because bullies are affecting their midday meal. Overweight kids may choose not to eat in school for fear of being taunted about their weight. Bullies may also be resorting to the age-old trick of stealing lunch money or taking a brown bag lunch away from your child. Kids who once had healthy appetites and begin picking listlessly at their food may also be suffering from a loss of appetite brought on by stress and anxiety. Any significant change in dietary habits is cause for a bit more investigation.
- Bullying Younger Siblings – It’s not uncommon for victims of bullies to attempt to regain some of the control they’ve lost over their own lives by mimicking the treatment they receive at the hands of a bully. A child who torments and bullies his younger siblings may be doing so because he’s cast in the role of the victim at school and looking for a way to be the dominant figure in a place where he feels safe from those bullies’ attention.
- Reduced Academic Performance – From anxiety that causes a loss of concentration to disruptions that make it difficult for your child to focus in class, a sudden and abrupt academic decline is a classic sign of bullying and schoolyard torment.
If you recognize any of these signs in your child, contact school administrators to determine their policy on bullying and start talking to your child about what’s going on in his life. It’s not always easy for kids to admit to being victimized in such a way, so you’ll need to be patient and cautious about questioning your child. An interrogation may only serve to validate your child’s fears about telling you that he’s being bullied, for fear that he will be in trouble or that you will be disappointed. Stay calm, be patient and maintain a gentle tone of voice throughout conversations on the subject.
Source: Nanny Websites
Be an educated parent, you will have safer children.