You know something’s wrong, but can’t quite understand what has changed your little boy’s (or little girl’s) personality. Until just a few weeks ago, he was always smiling, happy and eager to talk with you about everything happening at school and on the playground.
Now, he’s silent at meals, and finds reasons to get away from you whenever you want to talk to him. When you ask him if there’s anything troubling him, he just shrugs or ignores your question. When you persist, he cries and runs to his room.
These are signs that could indicate the boy is dealing with being bullied at school. There can be other indications about this unhappy situation you may try to reveal, and if possible, deal with in positive, helpful ways.
If your child comes home from school with a bloody nose, bruises or scratches on his arms or legs, it could indicate schoolyard fights. If you ask about the injuries, he may tell you he fell or was knocked down in a game. If you ask if a bigger kid was bullying him, he’ll deny it.
Bullying does more than cause injuries. It can also wound the child’s spirit. Bullies at school often follow up their intimidation and physical attacks on other kids by warning them not to tell school authorities nor parents.
That could cause your child to bring home feelings of frustration and anger, along with periods of sullen moods. No matter how much you probe, he refuses to tell you about the bullying for fear it will bring on more attacks.
There’s always an element of shame involved in being bullied, even if the other child is much stronger and bigger. This shame can affect relationships with other children, and the added peer abuse of being labeled as weak, a sissy. Like a pack of wolves that turn on an injured member, classmates often will be cruel to a weaker child.
Another sign a parent may see as an idication of a child being bullied, is if he says he’s ill or otherwise slows down in the morning, seeming to want to deliberately miss the school bus. It may happen with an outright refusal to go to school at all that day, along with uncontrolled crying.
Parents should continually look for signs that their children are being bullied at school. When they recognize those signs, they must take immediate steps to stop it, and end the pain and humiliation bullying always causes.