My 8year old son and his friend had both selected Boy Scouts as an after school activity since Year 1. So I was surprised when in Year 3, his friend’s Mum told me her son didn’t want to do Scouts any more. I decided to ask why. He said that there was a boy there that “teased” him a lot and made him uncomfortable. I then asked if he had reported this to his teacher – he hadn’t. The next time I saw his teacher, I reported the issue and the school addressed it immediately. His Mum didn’t know he was being bullied and neither did his teacher. He kept it to himself.
Bullying can come in various forms – teasing, name calling, spreading rumours or lies, leaving out, pushing, hitting, threatening, etc. The most common types of bullying are verbal (teasing, name calling) and social (leaving out, destroying reputation). And most bullying takes place in school – in he classroom, outside on school grounds, and on the school bus. And a number of children might not be aware that they are actually being bullied. When asked, most children think bullying is physical – hitting, pushing, etc
How do you know if your child is a victim of bullying? What signs should you look for?
Here are nine (9) signs to look out for:
- Loses interest in things he/she once enjoyed
- changes in eating habits
- Unable to sleep
- Feelings of sadness and worthlessness,
- Your child wants to be alone all the time
- Your child doesn’t want to go to school
- Your child’s grades go down.
- Your child says negative things about themselves/has low self esteem
- Talks about cutting themselves or suicide
If your child displays any of these signs, engage and probe him/her to find out exactly what are his/her realities in school. A child that is being bullied will most likely have something not too good to talk about someone in his/her school. Once this is the case, you need to take this matter to the school staff to learn more about what’s going on and ensure that adequate policies and measures are put in place to ensure the issue of bullying is properly looked into.
Remember whatever concerns your child’s physical and mental well being is your top priority