Warning Signs That Your Child is being Bullied

Being a parent can be a wonderful time in your life. It can also be filled with challenges and obstacles that both you and your child must face together to help your child grow into a well-balanced adult. There have been some disturbing cases of bullying in the news recently where young children have been bullied to the extent that they have committed suicide. What is mindboggling is that some of these suicides have been committed by children who are under the age of 12!  

Do you know some of the warning signs that your child is being bullied? Do you know some of the direct and indirect questions that you can ask to help determine if your child is being bullied? Even if you are not at the point where you want to start asking questions, you can look for some of the common warning signs that your child is being bullied. Here are a few:

    * Sudden loss of interest in school and school work.
    * Frequently complains of physical ailments such as headaches and stomach aches.
    * Begins having unexplained nightmares or experiences troubling going to sleep.
    * Comes home appearing depressed, moody, sad or teary eyed without provocation.
    * Has scratches, bruises, cuts or scrapes that can’t be explained.
    * Appears afraid to go to school.
    * Sudden loss of appetite with bouts of anxiety.
    * Has torn or damaged clothes or missing belongings.
    * Has few or no friends.

While no one warning sign mentioned above creates an undeniable certainty that your child is being bullied, these are signs that should not be ignored. Any combination of these warning signs may almost be a definite indication that your child is or has been bullied. However, the best course of action is to talk to your child. You can start with some indirect questions that are more like a conversation than anything. Ask about their friends at school and who they hang out with. Ask who they sit with at lunch time or on the bus. Ask if there are any children at school that they really don’t like and find out why. These subtle questions can be asked regularly without making your child feel as if you are pestering them.

If you want to take a more direct approach, start by letting your son or daughter know that you’re worried about them. Ask if there are any children at school that may be bullying them. It may be painful to hear the answers but these are questions that you need to know. Find out if there are children who leave your child out of activities or eliminate them on purpose. Gently but directly ask if your child is being teased in any way that is mean and intentional. Knowing these answers will let you take action to end your child’s bullying.