How do I know if my child is being bullied?
Dad - Mom! Keep in mind the following behaviors that your child may express or present to you as a cry for help, that something is going on.
Bullying is a situation where there are constant repetitions of verbal, psychological, or physical aggression to hurt, dominate, or frighten another child, without a provocation factor and the victim lacks the possibility of defending him/herself. Bullying can be generated by one child (the aggressor) or a group of children towards the victim.
How to identify if my child is being bullied?
When children suffer from bullying, they do not usually talk about it openly to their parents or teachers because of fear, embarrassment, they are threatened, because they think that adults will see them as weak children, or their classmates will label them as "snitches", that they perceive as normal this type of friendships that damage their integrity and sometimes they feel this fear of being scolded by their parents or feel little understood in this situation.
So Dad - Mom! Be aware of the following behaviors that your child may express or present to you as a cry for help, that something is going on:
- He/she has sudden mood changes.
- He/she tends to avoid talking about school subjects.
- Has constant nightmares.
- Crying about not wanting to go to school when he/she did not want to in the past.
- May wet the bed at night.
- Often has headaches, stomachaches, or some other physical discomfort that keeps him/her from going to school.
- Comments at home that he/she is called by a nickname.
- Comments at home that his things are taken away from him at school.
- Comments that there is a "misbehaved" child in the class and does not like him/her.
- His school grades begin to drop.
- He has difficulty concentrating when he did not have this problem before.
- Becomes irritable and aggressive.
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Little interest in school activities.
- Tends to isolate himself.
- Seeks to be moved to another classroom or school.
- Mentions are being teased.
- Arrives home with scrapes or bruises and does not know how to explain them.
- Presents anxiety in the evenings or mornings.
We consider that behavior alone does not evidence that your child is suffering from bullying; however, it is advisable to assess and investigate the origin of these behaviors.
What to do if my child is being bullied?
Strengthen communication and active listening with your child, this will help your child to express the situations that are occurring with him/her.
Investigate at school, request an interview with their teacher, director, or tutor, and mention these behaviors of your child, before concluding, it is important to inform the school since one of the characteristics is that children do not usually express what is happening.
Avoid interrogations with your child that are only based on a yes or no answer, try to start a conversation, for example: What do you like most about going to school, what would you like to change about school, what part of the school day do you like the least, what do you need to be happier or have more fun at school, what are the names of your friends who play at recess, from 1 to 10 how was your day, tell me what you would have liked to change to raise that number to 10, what would you have liked to change that number to 10, what would you have liked to change that number to 10, what would you have liked to change that number to 10, what would you have liked to change that number to 10, what would you have liked to change that number to 10, what would you have liked to change that number to 10?
Avoid minimizing your child's emotions or situations, as this is a very big and complicated situation for him/her and requires support and guidance.
Reiterate with your child that you are there to protect him/her and in any situation where he/she feels uncomfortable, offended, attacked, threatened, you will be able to support him/her in finding a solution and above all, you will not scold him/her, on the contrary, you will thank him/her for the trust he/she had to tell you about it.
Considering that bullying is a serious issue and requires timely teamwork between home, school, and community, let's put a stop to bullying since we all have responsible participation in acting.
Remember, parents are the first piece of the puzzle in the life of a child, they are the ones who initiate their formation, they are the basic pillar of love and security, they are the ones who guide in the spiritual and reinforce values, who guide and advise in decision making, who correct and form the character, to prepare them for their adult life. Fathers are key pieces in a child's life and without these pieces, a puzzle is not complete.
By Carmen Danelia de la Peña Castro, Head of Student Accompaniment of Basic and High School Education at UAG.