Bullying is nothing new, but it’s something everybody can surely live without. Many movements, campaigns, and organizations have made it their mission to educate others about it in the hopes of ending it someday.
Bullying threatens a child or teen’s safety and can leave them with lasting effects that can have negative outcomes in their social life, academics, and overall well-being. Schools are doing what they can to equip themselves to deal with this situation,
Bullying prevention workshops and threat assessment solutions in schools are among strategies schools and institutions implement to equip staff in dealing with bullying. However, schools should educate students too through training and awareness seminars. Everybody should be educated about its effects on the victim and the consequences that might follow.
Even then, parents shouldn’t be complacent and do their part too. Know the signs of bullying. This will help any parent or caregiver protect their child better.
Forms of Bullying
Bullying can come in various forms. Here’s how bullying can look like:
Mostly consisting of hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, and more, this form of bullying is the most obvious. This is to intimidate and threaten the target to do or give what the bully asks. In addition, verbal bullying is often accompanied by physical bullying. This includes name-calling, rumors, and teasing. This can also be in the form of racist bullying wherein the target receives racial slurs and offensive mocking of their culture.
In most cases, emotional intimidation can happen with physical and verbal bullying. This is when the child or teen is purposely made to feel isolated and alone, excluded from the rest. However, bullying doesn’t just happen in school. It can take place online too. Hate speech, harassment, spreading false rumors, and leaving threatening comments are some ways of bullying online. Lastly, sexual bullying can happen too, which is defined by unwanted physical contact or comments.
Parents and caregivers should know what changes might be observed in this situation. Take a look at these subtle signs for insight.
Physical evidence is the most obvious evidence. This can range from torn clothing and missing shoes to visible bruises and wounds. Other signs include destroyed belongings, frequent headaches, stomach aches, feeling ill, or faking illness. A child or teen can be observed to have changes in eating habits too. They either skip meals or binge eat. The latter could be because they’re unable to eat lunch at school.
If a parent notices their child or teen suddenly losing a friend or other changes in their social circle, it could mean something significant. They could be isolated and cornered by other kids or they could just be having a falling out with a friend. Either way, it’s ideal to make them comfortable enough to run to their parents about the troubles they’re experiencing. Big or small. It’s important for them to feel like they have a trusted adult to confide in.
Bullying takes a toll on mental health more than anything Although the mental effects are not easily seen by the naked eye, how they manifest can. Depression, anxiety, and other mental problems may persist into adulthood. Other effects of bullying include low self-esteem and feelings of helplessness, frequent nightmares, difficulty sleeping, lack of concentration, and reluctance to go to school may result in dropping grades.
Understand that being a victim of bullying is terrible for a child or teen, and the consequences can last a lifetime, affecting how they interact with others and their academic achievement.
What Parents Can Do
Should any of the signs above tick boxes for what you’ve observed about your child, talk to them about it. Be sure to be more subtle, kind, and patient when opening this topic. Make the child feel that it’s a safe space for them to open up about what’s going on in school and how it’s affecting them. Although it may often hurt parents to hear it, but try to keep calm and collected.
Reassure your child that it’s not their fault and that that you will help them. To know more about the situation, talk with the teacher or school counselor too. Ask them if they’ve observed anything themselves and discuss an action plan.
No child should be left to feel alone, afraid, and burdened. It’s important to ensure that every child has a safe place to learn, make friends, and be themselves. Every parent and school staff has the responsibility to correct any situation of bullying. No child deserves to endure another day of feeling unsafe, unwanted, and unprotected.