As school starts for the second semester, I'd like to address a problem we often see at our Center-children who are being bullied. Below are signs parents should look for if they suspect their child might be bullied.
|*||The child has a sudden loss of interest in school or school work, a fear to go to school, or their school performance has taken a dramatic downturn.|
|*||The child complains of headaches, stomach aches or other physical ailments|
|*||The child has trouble sleeping or wakes frequently from unexplained nightmares|
|*||The child has scratches, bruises, or cuts that can't be explained|
|*||The child has torn or damaged clothing or missing belongings|
|*||The child has few or no friends|
Of course any one of these things by itself is not necessarily a sign of bullying. If you suspect your child might be bullied, the best thing to do is talk to your child. Ask your child questions about what goes on at school or wherever the bullying might be taking place. Questions like, "Who do you sit with at lunch?" or "Do you have a friend you play with at recess?" are good starters. If your child still isn't opening up, you could try more direct questions like, "I'm worried about you. Is someone picking on you at school?" If your child doesn't open up and you still suspect he or she may be bullied, talk to your child's teacher. Explain your concerns and see if they might know more about what is going on.
Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open between you and your child. Your child might not tell you he or she is being bullied the first time you ask, but if you've established yourself as a caring parent, then your child is more likely to tell you what is going on.
Look for my next post where I'll discuss steps you can take if your child tells you he or she is being bullied.