How do I know if my child is being bullied? 5 key indicators

There are many signs and symptoms of bullying, but we’ve chosen 5 key signs for you to recognise when your child is being bullied, plus some steps to take in the presence of bullying.

We recognise that the impact that bullying can have not only on the child themselves but also the parents and family. It can be helpful for parents to recognise some signs and not underestimate the lasting effects of schoolyard taunting.

1. Avoiding school

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When a child is verbalising a desire to not go to school or has a noticeable decline in school performance, these are obvious warning signals

2. Injuries or lost property

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If a child is coming home from school with lost or destroyed property and/or unexplained injuries, this could be an immediate

3. Mood and behaviour changes

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Parents should be alert to changes in mood, behaviour and physical appearance of their children. Moodiness, irritability and withdrawal, along with difficulties getting out of bed could be something other than just teen angst.

4. Health changes

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Being aware of changes in eating habits, frequent stomach or headaches and faking illnesses is important as these may indicate anxiety.

5. Social life

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It is also important to take note of how your child is socialising. While kids are known to chop and change groups as they mature, sudden social withdrawal and loss of friends may indicate more than the natural transience of childhood friendships.


So, what can be done?

Acknowledging bullying can seem daunting for both children and parents. Naming the issue might make it seem bigger than you want it to be, or a real problem for which you don’t have a tangible solution or parental wisdom.

    • Stay calm and positive and listen to your child. Do not dismiss their concerns or encourage them to sort it out themselves.
    • You are not alone in this issue; the school doesn’t want your child to feel ostracised or uncomfortable. Find out what supports are in place and how they can assist your child in the school domain.
    • Ensuring that your child has a confidant at school and encouraging them to report incidents and understand that it is OK to do so, can also help inspire security.
    • Parents must explain to their children that bullying is not their fault.
    • Don’t let bullying dominate your child’s life, focus on developing new skills and encourage healthy outlets outside of school where they can form meaningful bonds and develop new skills.
    • Confidence is key, as body language can speak volumes. Work strategies with your children, such as appearing confident even if they feel insecure on the inside. Just practising saying NO firmly can create confidence as well as acting unimpressed or unaffected.

 

Relationships Australia NT offers individual, couple and family counselling, relationship education and skill-building courses including Parenting courses. For more information please call us on (08) 8923 4999.