Well, well, well. Bullying is something which is a very serious issue for children and parents alike in today’s world. It comes in all forms and sizes, and on many occasions can be very, very hard to define. When we got bullied as children, we were always too proud to tell our parents or guardians, and why was this? It is because we didn’t want to cause any upset or drama. We felt scared that we were always somehow in the wrong. This of course is down to how the bullying affected us. It made us feel degraded and belittled, and that is exactly the same effect that bullying has on children today.
One would think that children, depending on their ages, aren’t aware enough to hide the fact that they are getting bullied that well, but you would be very surprised to find that kids are a lot more aware than we think they are, especially if they are victims of bullying. This will mean that they very often conceal their feelings unless it is already upsetting them to a high level, but the aim is to prevent it getting that far right? The happy news, however, is that there are definite, sure fire ways to be able to find out whether your children are being bullied or not. The only way these signs will work though, is if you dedicate to the relationship you have with your child/children.
One of the first and foremost things that you must always be looking for in your children in order to discover bullying behind the scenes, is to make totally sure that you check their clothing, bags, and all of the equipment that they took compared to what they returned with. One of the first main signs that a child is getting bullied, is the loss of certain items from their person, tearing or other damage of clothing, mud around the knees and arms, that sort of thing. Now, subtlety is a very delicate factor which needs to be introduced into this, in order to not alarm your children. It is because of this, that it would be better to check their uniform and bags after they are changed. Now, this does sound like it is obvious, and most of you are thinking “Hey, I would notice if my son/daughter had lost some of their things or tore their clothes”, but trust me when I say you need to dedicate to keeping an eye out, in order to be able to catch these signs straight away.
The second of these signs that tells the tale of your children being bullied, would be any cuts, scratches, or bruises that your children have received. This will usually either come in the form of scuffed knees, bruised upper arms, and bruises on the torso. Waiting until your children are asleep and then checking for these signs of bullying would be preferable, due to the subtlety involved. Bodily harm is a big threat to children today, but their biggest fear is that it get’s seen, and that they get viewed to be weaker because of this. This would inevitably mean that they will probably do a lot to hide it. If there are bruises and scuffs on the arms, they will probably seem more persistent in wearing long sleeve clothes, and lacking in physical communication.
On top of these signs which are visual, there are also emotional scars which are left from the issue of bullying. These signs can be a little harder to see, but there are ways to look for them. Something that is a very prominent effect that bullying has on children is damage to their self-confidence, and self-esteem. This means that they will become less conversational, and less likely to interact with or talk about friend at school, or how their day at school was for that matter. The key to finding this sign and targeting it is to regularly talk to your children about how their day went at school, whether they hung around with any particular friends and so on.
There will also be another issue of your children potentially complaining on a regular basis about injury or illness. This is often a ploy to avoid them going to school, but can be difficult to approach due to the fact that, there are times where these complaints could be genuine. The best way to deal with this kind of issue is treat the complaints on their merits. If the ailments that your children complain of are minor (Headache, upset stomach, cold), then it will be an idea to directly ask if they may be avoiding school for a particular reason.
Finally, there comes the more subtle sign that they are potentially getting bullied. Our children will sometimes resort to delaying their journeys to school and classes. This can be through “missing the bus” when they left the house early enough to catch it, or deciding to walk to school instead of taking a bus. The best way to be able to spot this, however, is either through monitoring their persistence to walk the long way/ miss the bus, or to pay close attention to their school reports in order to find out what their attendance has been like.
If you adhere to all of these signs, and ensure that you maintain a connected and healthy relationship with your children, you will find that you will be able to spot the signs of bullying way before it gets irreparably far.