bullyingCredit: by Chesi - Fotos CC (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pimkie_fotos ) Licensed under Creative CommonsOne of the worst nightmares parents could have is knowing that their child is being bullied. According to statistics, almost two hundred thousand children don’t want to go to school because they are being intimidated or harassed by their schoolmates. Alarmingly, studies also show that bullying is now widespread among young children and is more aggressive than before.

What makes things worse is that children are oftentimes afraid to tell their parents about being bullied. Based on investigations done by experts, there are different factors that cause them to lie or keep silent about it. For instance, there are some instances wherein parents don’t actually believe the fact that their children are being bullied while there are some children who are simply embarrassed of their situation. Another factor is that they are worried that telling their parents might just make matters worse.

Bullying can cause serious emotional damage and it can affect one’s mental health and self-confidence. All kinds of bullying (physical, verbal, cyber bullying, psychological, and social) are harmful and may cause permanent damage on the child. Isolation, emotional stress, anxiety, lower self-confidence and depression are just some of the effects of bullying. There are even worse cases where the child takes his or her own life out of depression and hopelessness.

Therefore, as a parent, it is important to know the signs that your child is being bullied. Note that bullying is always done on purpose and will recur over time. If your kid is being bullied, he or she definitely needs help from an adult.

Signs of Bullying

The following are just some of the common signs of bullying. While there is a chance that they may be caused by other problems, it is still important to pay attention and address them when found:

1. When he always comes home hungry. If your child frequently comes home feeling hungry, something must be wrong. It’s either someone is taking his lunch box or your child is willingly giving his food away out of fear. To determine the real problem, you can ask your child in a nice way. For instance, ask him about who he was with during the meal, or how he thinks of his lunch.

2. Unexplained bruises or injuries. Accidents happen all the time but if you think that your child is always having scratches, bruises or bumps that are quite unusual, make sure to check them out. He or she might lie about it and just say that they slammed into something or fell from the stairs.

3. Damaged or lost things. It is very normal for children to be clumsy or careless but you’ll know that your child is a victim of bullying if his belongings are often broken or missing. What parents should do is to keep track of your children’s possessions and determine which one is missing. It is also a good idea to talk to the teachers and other parents to know your child’s behavior at school.

4. Usually comes home late from school. Generally, children come home late from school because they hang out with their friends. However, just to avoid bullies, some kids tend to skip the school bus or take the longer route back home. If you feel that something isn’t right, trust your gut feeling and ask your child if he does something that is not usual.

5. Changes in sleeping and eating routine. Most of the time, changes in one’s sleeping and eating routine can be a warning sign that your kid is stressed out. He could be eating less because of thinking too much about his situation (or eating more than usual because somebody stole his lunch. Nightmares can also happen and this can cause your child to have sleeping problems.

6. Bullying or harassing younger children. If your child is starting to show mean behavior towards other children, he’s probably a victim of bullying. Some children who are being bullied naturally pick on someone else in order to get even. Experts say that this could be a child’s way to release his problems and to show his anger.

7. Isolating himself from others. This is especially true if your child used to be cheerful and fun to be with. It is time to talk to your child if he starts withdrawing himself from friends and family members. There are also cases wherein the child may avoid communicating, become nervous for no reason and spends a lot of time alone.

8. Skipping school. One of the common schemes of children who want to skip class for a few hours or escape an examination is faking a stomachache or headache. However, if the child regularly tries to avoid school, it may be a warning sign of bullying.

9. Self-destructive behavior. Children who are victims of bullying can be motivated to self-injurious behavior. If you notice that your child is always depressed and experiencing emotional trouble, make sure to observe him/her actions. Take note of small cuts, wounds cigarette burns and bite marks can be due to self-injurious behavior.

10. Problems about school grades. Victims of bullying usually have difficulty in concentrating on their studies and achieving high grades. So if your child used to get high grades and then his grades are suddenly getting low, talk to him about it.

If you think that your child is a target of bullying, make sure to talk to him. Most of the time, children who are being bullied feel uncomfortable and they are ashamed to tell other people about what they are going through. It is important to inform your child’s school and urge them to do something about the situation. Make sure to discuss everything with his teachers, the principal, school bus drivers and other people who are somehow connected with your child. This way, you’ll be able to solve the problem and protect your kid from bullying.