Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied & What to Do About It
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to identify a bully in your child’s life, and what to do about it.
Children in the modern age are dealing with bullying on a scale that we never had to deal with. In our time bullying was a problem, but in the modern day has reached epidemic-level proportions. It seems there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t hear or see the horrendous consequences of bullying. As a parent, the need to establish an awareness of the signs of bullying and methods to alleviate our children’s suffering have never been higher. What follows is a resource that can establish a starting-point for parents to identify bullies in our children’s lives, and methods we can use to begin helping our kids. Often, these will have a positive effect on the well-being of your child, but if they don’t, we recommend you get in touch with Capital Choice Counselling for professional assistance. Our Ottawa family counselling can offer you and your child the help they need.
Signs your Child is Being Bullied at School
So much of our children’s lives proceed around an established routine. From waking up to going to bed, they proceed according to a pattern that has been provided to them. They wake up at the same time, have class at the same time, eat at the same time. Often, they are also bullied at the same time. Bullies and victims are subject to the same routines. A bully cannot become physically or emotionally violent towards a victim in the presence of a teacher, so they wait until recess or after school. There’s no sense in trying to steal lunch-money before lunch, so bullies catch their victims on the bus to school.
Victims know when they are most likely to be confronted by a bully, and become filled with tremendous anxiety leading up to these moments of confrontation. This anxiety can lead your child to demonstrate a range of behaviors that you can identify as likely signs that a bully is present in your child’s life. After you identify the patterns of anxiety, you can investigate its likely cause, and take measures to reduce it.
Faking sickness, walking to school instead of bussing, staying late after school, staying in during recess, intentional detention, only using the bathroom at home, etc. are all active behaviors or intentional choices made by a child to avoid predictable moments of confrontation with bullies. There are passive, or unintentional behaviors that children can manifest as well. Losing sleep, consistent nightmares, fear when being left alone, emotional explosions, all of these behaviors come anxiety, often caused by bullies.
There is no definitive list of active and passive behaviors that are caused by anxiety induced by a bully. Determining if there is a bully in your child’s life is not a matter of checking their behavior against a checklist. Instead, the best thing you can do is identify changes in the patterns of your child’s behavior and apparent feeling, and see if the anxieties you believe might be present has a common cause. If your child is having trouble sleeping, is consistently ‘sick’, and is coming home with peculiar injuries, or ravenously hungry; chances are they are being bullied at school.
Signs Your Child is Being Bullied Online
Cyber-bullying is a new form of bullying that our generation never had to deal with, so knowing how to approach this problem can be a tough for parents. Fortunately, Capital Choice Counselling is here to provide you with the information you need to deal with the possibility of cyber bullying. Broadly speaking, there are two things you need to do to identify and ideally solve your child’s cyber bullying problem. Communicate and Observe.
The most efficient, but far from easiest, method to determine if your child has a cyber bullying problem is to simply talk to them and see if they reveal it to you. Simple in principle, this is generally much more difficult than it sounds. Often, children won’t even know that they way that they are treated online constitutes bullying, so asking “are you being bullied online” is likely to be responded to with a “No.”
If you suspect your child is being cyber-bullied, a direct approach is unlikely to work, so instead try bringing it up indirectly, referencing a story or article you read. “Do you know anyone who’s been cyber-bullied? Has anyone you know ever been mean to you online? Have you ever been worried about it?”
If they tell you that they have been treated improperly online, it’s careful not to jump to the conclusion that they’ve been cyber-bullied. Sometimes kids are just mean to each other, and the anonymity of the internet means that general nastiness is found everywhere. It’s up to you at this point, as a parent, to calibrate your questions to determine if your child has been specifically targeted by another person or group.
If speaking with your child one-on-one doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you ought to keep a special eye out for changes in behavior concerning their digital devices. If you find that your child is avoiding a mobile device or computer, or spends too much time texting or social networking, try and get an impression of their general feeling surrounding. If they appear upset, withdrawn, or angry after using their devices, chances are there’s something worthy of investigation going on concerning what they are experiencing. Suddenly deleting social media accounts, blocking emails or phone numbers, or creating new accounts is often a huge sign something is not right online. It’s not always the case that this is an indication of cyber bullying, but is worth investigating. Even if it reveals nothing directly, asking questions about their experience online can yield valuable information that you can use to form new questions.
What to Do About Bullying
In either case, if your child is being bullied online or at school, the first thing parents should do is inform the relevant authorities of the bullying. School is a straightforward affair, simply requiring you to inform school administration, including teachers and principals. This is the starting-point of any effective solution to school bullying, and will also provide you a new source of information that you can use to assess progress with respect to your child’s bullying. Perhaps it’s the case that other parents are having similar issues with a common bully. Reaching out to school administration can put you in contact with them, and you can co-ordinate a solution that improves the lives of your children, other victims, and the school as a whole.
Bullying online can be a little more difficult. With no clear person in a position of authority to assist in these matters, it can be difficult to know who to turn to or how to act to help your child. For online cyber bullying, we recommend the coordination of a few points of authority that you can use your discretion to contact, depending on the severity of bullying.
If legitimate harassment is occurring, informing your Internet or Mobile Service Provider as well as the Social Media network authorities, and in severe cases the Police, is guaranteed to stop the bullying in its tracks. Children often do not know when their actions constitute legal offense, or when the actions of a bully are out-of-line. Alerting the authorities at-be to these actions allows them to step in and make it undoubtedly clear that cyber-bullying is not tolerated.
Capital Choice Counselling
The measures above serve as an effective starting place to deal with bullying online and at school. If any of the above actions are unavailable to you, or aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be, we recommend getting in touch with Capital Choice Counselling for any cases where more work is needed.