Presented by BetterHelp.
Bullying is a real problem that has existed since we can remember. Young children who may be perceived as “sensitive” or “weak” are often picked on by kids who are part of the “status quo.” Teens may be bullied for their acne or skin appearance or their sense of style.
No matter the reason, bullying is never acceptable. If your child is being bullied, you may not be aware. That’s why it’s essential to know the signs of a bullied child before the bullying gets too severe.
Here are six signs your child is going through bullying at school and what you can do to stop it.
1. They Cry When They Come Home
If your child starts to act more sensitive than usual or seems to be crying more often than not, there is most likely a reason. Teens and pre-teens are more likely to hide their emotions than younger children, so even if you don’t see it happening, it doesn’t mean it’s not.
You should check in with your child after school. If they seem withdrawn and depressed, they may be feeling hurt or upset about something going on at school. You can always bring this up. However, it’s likely they won’t want to tell you right away, especially if they’re an adolescent.
If there doesn’t seem to be an external cause for their upset, it could be depression. Depression is extremely common in teens and adults and is something to look for if your child is no longer “happy” or ‘energetic” like they used to be.
2. They Seem “Different” or “Off”
If your kid just doesn’t seem like themselves, it could be because of bullying. This fact is especially true if they’re not a teenager yet. Teens tend to go through more of a personality change while they try to find themselves. However, young kids don’t have a complete personality yet and are often pretty happy.
If your young child seems strange or is acting out, it’s time to talk to them. If you can’t get info from your kid, you’ll want to contact the school to see what might be going on. You can also enroll your child in counseling to get more information and help them deal with the feelings of sadness or hurt that come with bullying.
3. They Don’t Want To Go to School Anymore
A huge sign that something wrong is happening at school is if your child suddenly doesn’t want to go. Often, children do not know how to solve conflicts. If someone is hurting them, they will simply retreat and try to avoid it.
Instead of getting upset with them, try to understand that there may be a reason behind them not wanting to go to school other than defiance. Perhaps someone is bullying them. If this is the case, you’ll want to ask your child why they don’t want to go to school and promise them that you’ll work hard to protect them if they open up to you about it.
4. They Aren’t Doing Homework or Paying Attention
Bullying can cause feelings of stress and anxiety, which can cause memory loss, a lack of attention span, and fear of completing tasks.
If your child is starting to have difficulties paying attention in class or on their homework, it could be caused by stress outside of the home. It could also be caused by developing ADHD, anxiety, trauma, and significant changes in life. Depending on your child’s experiences and symptoms, you may want to get them evaluated by a psychologist.
5. The Teachers or Faculty Appear Concerned
If you’ve gotten messages or word from the faculty of the school that your child is struggling in some area or seems to be having problems that are out of the ordinary, they may be experiencing bullying.
A good place to start is to ask the teachers or faculty what they know about the social life of your child. Many times, they’re able to catch subtle bullying. However, even if they haven’t, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The worst bullying often happens outside of adult supervision.
6. Their Grades Start To Drop
The final sign that something is wrong at school is an unusual change in grades. If your child is usually a straight-A student, and suddenly they’ve got all C’s, you may be looking at a bullying situation.
Bullying makes it hard to focus or even want to do well in school. If you see a change in grades, try not to react in anger. Communicate with your child. It’s essential to your bond, and they’ll feel like they can trust you more in the future when something happens.
What Should I Do?
If you’ve determined that your child may be going through bullying, the first step is to get information on it. Your child may be reluctant to tell you, so it’s important to establish trust and remain calm.
Let your kid know that if something ever happens at school, you’ll work with the school to make sure it never happens again. If your child is afraid of retaliation, let them know that you can anonymously report it for them and that you won’t mention their name. You can also have them moved to a new class or to a new teacher.
A school or outside counselor is also a good idea. Counselors can help kids work through their feelings in a way that makes sense to them. If your child reports being in danger, the counselor will work with you to come up with a plan to protect them at school and report the dangerous person.
If you want to learn more about bullying, read here.