Advice for Parents
Parents play an important role in supporting the child through the process of resolving the bullying, and in facilitating communication between the child and the different parties.
As some children may not voluntarily share that they are being bullied, look out for the following signs that may hint that your child is being bullied:
Unexplained bruises, scratches or cuts, torn or damaged clothes or belongings.
Non-specific pains, headaches, abdominal pains, mouth sores
Fear of walking to or from school. Change of route to school. Afraid of riding on school bus. Asking to be driven to school. Unwilling to go to school. Deterioration in school work. Coming home starving (because lunch money was taken). Reporting loss of possessions. Asking for or stealing money (to pay the bully).
Change in Social Behaviour
Having fewer friends. Not wanting to go out. Being invited out much less.
Appearing upset, unhappy, lonely, tearful, distressed. Becoming withdrawn and depressed. Suicidal thinking. Unexpected mood swings.
Irritability and temper outbursts. Stop eating, over eating, unable to sleep, nightmares, bed wetting, crying out during sleep.
Indicators of Poor Health
Being generally tired or "run-down". Low resistance to infection and recurring illnesses. Threatening or attempting suicide.
Once you find out that your child is being bullied, do find out the following facts.
These facts will better facilitate your understanding of the bullying situation and how your child is coping with it:
What kind of bullying has occurred (e.g. physical, verbal, relational, cyber-bullying).
When and where has the bullying taken place.
How long and how frequent the bullying is.
How many bullies are there.
Has the nature of bullying changed over time (e.g. are there new ways of bullying, are more people getting involved etc).
How much has the child been harmed.
How does the child feel about the situation and how did he/she react.
Does anyone else know about the bullying.
Did the people who know about the bullying do anything about it.
As you understand more about what is happening to your child, you can start putting together an action plan to support your child.
Several areas you can consider are:
Are there areas in my child that I can encourage him/her to grow in as a person.
Are there other people I can reach out to find support for my child.
Is it in my child's best interest to perform a certain action.
Does my child require professional help (e.g. counselling, therapy) to overcome emotional scars from the bullying.
An example of an action plan is:
Help child to learn to be more assertive.
Get help from friends of my child in the class
Reasonably avoid people and situations that expose my child to the risk of being bullied.
Approach the school and seek their cooperation.
You should be objective in setting your action plan. Do not let emotions overly influence your action plan.
You may feel a sense of injustice that your child had to suffer from someone else's actions.
You may feel a sense of wanting to protect your child by withdrawing him/her from school
You may feel lost in approaching an action plan, and start doing whatever you can.
In all these situations, remember that the most important priority in managing a bullying situation is your child's wellbeing. Stopping the bullying and protecting your child is important. Other important goals are to resolve emotional scars, and to build your child's resilience so that they can stand against such challenges in future.
We understand that it is tough trying to support your child through bullying. If you need additional support or consultation, send us an e-Consultation!