Despite bullying being on the rise among children, few kids have the courage to report to their parents. The parents are faced with a challenge of determining whether their children are being bullied and how they can stop it if it is the case. To handle the problem of bullying, parents need to open lines of communication with children so that through this bond, in case a child is bullied at school, he/she can open up to someone about it.
To dig deeper into this matter, a parent is advised to ask specific social questions to the learner instead of the normal general questions. For instance, you can ask a child who did they play with or who did they have lunch with instead of how was school today. Also encourage kids to use emotional language about direct interactions with peers to give you more insight of what is going on in school. In case you realize your kid is not opening up because perhaps she/he feels embarrassed, you need to investigate more.
The following behavioral responses can be signs of bullying though we cannot take them as absolute indicators of bullying:
- Withdrawing from activities they used to like.
- Isolation or loss of friends.
- Problems sleeping.
- Complains about headaches and stomachaches.
- Reduced appetite.
- Declining performance.
- Damaged or missing belongings.
- Self- ruining behaviors such as running away from home.
Once you note that your child is being bullied, approach the situation from a neutral ground. Sharing your personal experience during your childhood can be a great way to catch the feeling of the kids and letting them share their own experiences too.
Parents should be aware that there is no specific approved method of dealing with bullying. This matter depends on the character of the child and personal judgment. All in all, always ensure whichever method you pursue it works for you. In many cases, you will realize that some children prefer sharing their problems with teachers or other siblings. In that case, ensure you follow up to know whether the other parties alerted were able to deal with the case or if there is need to take further action. Parents may want to also consider a consultation with a mental health professional to determine if there are any negative psychological effects of bullying.