Do You Recognize the 10 Warning Signs That Indicate Your Child is Being Bullied in School

I recently came across an article on CNN.com (sourcing Oprah.com) about school bullying. The article discusses some of the warning signs that indicate that your child is a victim of school bullying and how you as a parent could help your child.

The article lists the following ten warning signs:

  1. Acts withdrawn
  2. Has unexplained injuries
  3. Clothing is torn
  4. Fears going to school
  5. Has trouble sleeping
  6. Mood changes
  7. Stops talking about school
  8. Finds excuses to miss school
  9. Has new friends
  10. Displays aggressive behavior at home (Sometimes if your child is being bullied, he or she will take it out on a sibling.)

Our daughter displayed a couple of these signs last year and now we are concerned that she is stating to display some of these signs again.

Last year we noticed that she was being affected by the bullying because of a drastic change in her behavior at home. She came home with attitude problems and was often rude to us. Only later did we realize that this was a possible response to the bullying that she was experiencing in school. Its very difficult for a five year old to be tough in school and stand up to bullies. They usually keep their frustration quiet until they get home and take it out on their parents and siblings.

The article goes on to advise parents on what to do in this situation.

Talking to your child
If you see the warning signs that indicate your child might be the victim of a bully, Rachel Simmons says there are ways for you to talk about what’s really going on at school.
Ask trigger questions in the third person. For example, ask your daughter, “How do girls treat each other in school?” or “How do you feel when you’re at school?” Remember, the most important action you can take is to listen to and hold your child.

How you can help
If your child is the victim of a bully at school, you should:
• Take it seriously — don’t minimize the experience.
• Keep an open dialogue with your child about the bullying.
• Don’t assume the bullying has stopped if your child stops talking about it.
• Give consistent advice.
• Bolster your child’s self-esteem in other areas. Help them find an activity where they fit in.
• Don’t go it alone. Find other parents whose children are being bullied and organize.
• Remind your child what you like about him or her and encourage them to find a group of allies.
• Contact your child’s school to report what is going on.

What not to do
If your son or daughter admits that they are being bullied, Rachel Simmons says you should:
• Never tell them it’s a “normal phase.”
• Avoid minimizing their problem.
• Never tell them they are being oversensitive.
• Never tell them that they are doing something to cause the bullying.
• Never tell them that they must be joking.

What your child can do
Even though your child may protest, you must tell his or her school about the bullying and work with the school to make sure it’s doing everything possible to protect your child. You can also help your child deal with bullies from the start by telling them to:
•Deflect the bullying with humor.
•Speak out — say, ‘Stop that. I don’t like it!”
•Get friends to help. Ask them to stand up to the bully.

The most important thing for a child to remember is that he or she must tell an adult when the bullying starts. An adult can support and empower the child, and take the power away from the bully.

My wife and I have been discussing this article over the last several days and it seems that some of the suggestions wouldn’t work so well for six year olds. This is where support from parents and teachers is most important. Whether its your child being affected or your child’s friend its important to take action even in the first grade.

As the article suggests, encourage your child to group together with other kids in her class to stand up to the bullying whether or not your child is the victim. Also, contact other parents affected by this bullying and figure out how to best deal with the situation.

Teachers may dismiss the behavior as just a childhood phase but what happens when the child is still causing the same problems ten years later? At that point in time it becomes difficult to deal with it properly. Don’t assume that since the teacher has been teaching first or second graders for twenty years that their experiences tell them that kids will be kids and these problems are part of being a child. Children don’t become bullies and jerks in the eighth grade out of the blue. It starts in kindergarten and if its not dealt with properly it will just escalate.

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2 Responses

  1. Looser says:

    Hmm this signs refers 2 my mood, but im not being bullied at school.. Im juz plain lazy…

  1. October 15, 2007

    […] Ellen presents Do You Recognize the 10 Warning Signs That Indicate Your Child is Being Bullied in School posted at […]

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