What Every Parent Should Know: Detecting the Early Signs of Bullying

From the time that your child is a newborn to the years before attending preschool, you can pretty much gain control of the experiences that your kid is having. It is during these development years that you may offer the best, most sheltered environment for your child. But once your kid goes to school, you will have less control of the situation. What if your daughter has an unfortunate encounter with a bully? What if your son physically hurts himself while interacting with other kids on the school playground?

As a parent, being informed of how a situation like bullying comes about is one way to be prepared. When it comes to the other scenario which is having your child physically hurt, all you can do is remind your kid to be careful and hope that playtime does not turn into unfortunate scrapes and bruises.

How to Detect the Early Signs of Bullying

Now, let us take a deeper look at how you should deal with a situation of possible bullying. If you were fortunate enough not to have experienced it on your own when you were a kid, you need to be aware of how the situation comes about. Bullying occurs when a child acts aggressively over another. The purpose is to exert authority or superiority over another individual. It can also be an assertion of power and physical strength.

There are many types of bullying which includes physical bullying. For this, one child may shove, hit or kick another kid as a form of bullying. Cyberbullying takes the form of aggression through text messages, social networking site messages or being excluded from social activities. There’s also emotional, verbal and social bullying.

No parent would want their kid to go through such traumatic experiences, so what’s the best thing that you can do? It does pay to be aware of what the early signs of bullying are, which may include any or all of the following:

• Seeing your child come home from school with unexplained bruises, cuts, scrapes or bite marks.

• Having a kid come home with missing personal items, uneaten lunch, and broken or torn clothes or personal belongings.

• A change in your child’s sleeping pattern, mood, behavior and overall attitude in life.

• Hesitation towards going to school, or not receiving an answer when you’re asking your son or daughter about friends.

• Losing interest in school work and not performing well in academics.

What are you supposed to do if you suspect that your child is being bullied? First, directly ask questions to your child so that you can get to the core issue. Go for something like “Are there kids at school who may be teasing you in a mean way?” or “Were you not invited to that event deliberately?”

If you get suspicious once your child answers these questions, setup an appointment with the school’s guidance counsellor or the class teacher. Ask if your daughter gets along with other kids in class, and if she interacts with other children normally. Speak your mind out if you feel that your child is being bullied. Addressing the problem directly is the solution, as well as early detection. When you take an active part in the life of your child, you can prevent the situation from worsening if there is indeed an incident of bullying.


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