Bullying is not just the occasional schoolyard tussle. In recent years, awareness of bullying has increased after a few students have died as a result of bullying. Bullies not only taunt their victims, but in many cases physically injure them, leading to scrapes, wounds, broken bones, head injuries, and other serious injuries. In some cases, a bully’s pranks can be deadly or can leave lasting emotional scars. Often, parents are unaware that their child is being bullied until the attacks escalate. As your child heads back to school, stay alert for these warning signs.
1) Your child’s grades are declining. Declining grades can be an indication of any number of issues and should always be addressed promptly. If your child is being bullied, he or she may be too upset to concentrate on school work. Even if there is another reason for declining grades, it is important to turn the situation around early in the school year so that your child can enjoy academic success.
2) Your child’s online habits change. Some bullies have taken their abusive tactics online, where they can attack other children without the prying eyes of parents and teachers. If your child spends a lot of time online suddenly and tries to hide online activities by erasing histories or staying on the computer late at night, he or she may be the victim of a cyber bully. Be especially wary if your child seems secretive about his or her computing activities and is upset after using the computer.
3) Your child seems withdrawn or upset frequently. Any sort of emotional upset should be addressed at once. If your child loses interest in regular activities and becomes upset or withdrawn, that can be a sign of a problem.
4) Your child develops frequent headaches or stomach aches. Children who are being bullied are under a great deal of stress, and this can manifest itself in frequent stomach upset or headaches due to stress. In some cases, the victims of bullies try to stay away from school by feeling ill. If your child starts manifesting physical symptoms of stress, visit a doctor at once.
5) Your child has any injuries that are not explained. The occasional knee scrape is normal, but if your child comes home with injuries and does not seem to be able to explain those injuries, that can be a red flag sign of abuse. Missing items or broken items – such as lunchboxes or toys – can also be a sign of bullying.