How To Tell if Your Child is Being Bullied

Knowing that your child is having a difficult time at school can be a truly painful experience for any parent. We all want our kids to thrive, and school should be a safe place for them to do so. If your child is being picked on, there are things you can do to help support them and resolve the situation.

Know the signs. It may not be as obvious as bruises or physical marks; if your child has become more withdrawn or anxious lately then bullying may be the cause. He may be afraid that if you were to find out, it would make things worse, so gently encourage your child to open up about what’s bothering him. Bullying can take many forms, and sometimes goes on online rather than in person, so be aware that the situation may be complicated.

Let someone know. Whether it’s a teacher, school nurse or someone else at school that your child is close to, make sure that an adult at school is aware of the problem. There should be a protocol in place at your child’s school to deal with bullying, so by notifying those in authority you’re putting them into action. They can then organise meetings with the other child’s parents if necessary, and act as a mediator.

Encourage your child by praising him for opening up about the problem. Reassure him that this is not his fault, and that he doesn’t have to just put up with it. Try not to get pulled into any ‘tough it up’ rhetoric, this can just make your child feel even more inferior. Listen without judgement and offer comfort; remind him that many other kids go through similar experiences and that he’s not alone. Let your child know that you will stick with the problem until it’s resolved, and that he doesn’t have to fight back or hide in order to make things better.

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