“Could a scar be like the rings of a tree, reopened with each emotional season?”
― Magenta Periwinkle
A lot of kids get bullied in school for being chubby, thin, tall, geeky, short, and absolutely none of it is justified. Bullying leaves long-lasting scars that can transcend into numerous emotional problems and disorders during adulthood.
Some children confide in their parents but most of them keep things to themselves. It is extremely important that as a parent you figure out if your child is getting bullied, or there will be severe repercussions.
How Can You Say If Your Child Is Being Bullied?
- The first thing you need to notice is a change in behavior. If the child is suddenly irritable, cranky, and prefers being left alone, there definitely is a problem. This change of behavior is common in teenagers going through puberty, but if a younger kid starts exhibiting these changes it is almost always because of something that is going wrong in their lives.
- When a child is going through a difficult time, they will refuse food. If you find your child saying no to his favorite cookies and ice cream, something is definitely wrong.
- Does the child look absent minded or has he stopped taking any interest in activities that he previously enjoyed? Did his friends stop visiting often, or does he refuses to go out and play with them?
- Your child would suddenly refuse to go to school or fake illness to stay home.
- Look for unexplained injuries or bruises. If your child is coming back home with a purple bruise or a split lip, maybe there is more to it than ‘I fell’.
What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied
The absolute first thing that you must do after finding out that your child is being bullied is to talk to them. Parents have very little idea of what a child goes through when being bullied; they feel like the world is caving in and that they are all alone in this fight.
Being bullied is accompanied by a paralyzing fear. The anxiety eats at them. Just thinking about what their bully would do the next day is enough to take a toll on their physical, emotional, and mental health. And most children don’t talk about it because getting bullied is a sign of weakness. They feel humiliated at being bullied, and talking about it is literally adding insult to injury. At this time, you need to talk to them, comfort them, and make them feel that now you are in this too and you are going to protect them.
Once you feel you have had a heart-to-heart with your child regarding the bullying situation, and he has vested his trust in you, he’ll feel a lot better emotionally. At this point , you should not directly intervene. You should guide your child on how to deal with the situation. Children often find it easier to deal with bullies if they know a parent is keeping an eye on them, and they are helping them through the situation.
Ask your child everything about his bully- what triggers the reaction, what exactly do the bullies do, whether they attack verbally or it is more of a physical assault. Once you get a clear picture, draw up options that your child can follow to deal with bullying. Bullied children find it difficult to stand up to their bullies, as a parent you need to break this image of the bully that they are afraid of. Tell them about incidents from your childhood or of other people they know.
Lastly, you will have to intervene if the matter does not improve within a week or two. You should talk to the teacher and inform them about the situation. Ask them to keep an eye on your child and his bullies. Teachers and the school authority take such concerns rather seriously and deal with the situation tactfully.
Besides all this, you should also try to give your child a sense of security at home. Show him that you and your partner support him thoroughly, and empower him to stand up to his bullies. Not just offer him words of encouragement, but coach your child on how to be a mentally and physically tougher kid.
Also, find a hobby or an activity that your child enjoys. This will help him to take the focus off of negative things. This will also make them feel good about themselves when they excel and do good at something they like.
Bullying is a serious issue and one that every parent must know how to tackle. It is traumatic for kids to deal with bullying and the effects are so severe that a completely healthy happy kid can turn into a self-harmer. Parents need to teach their kids to be mentally tougher and to deal with the situation in a thorough manner.