Concerned about bullies? Here are some things parents can do

If you suspect bullying and your child won’t talk to you, arrange a conference with a trusted adult who knows your child.

When it comes to bullying, what most people fail to recognize is that the bullied rarely ever talks about it. They suffer in silence, and in effect, they don’t get the help they need.

This is alarming because bullying start at a young age, affecting a child’s psyche in a negative way early on. It damages a child’s perception of one’s self and erodes their self-esteem.

According to Amanzimtoti Trauma Unit (ATU) centre manager, Loraine Odendaal, bullying is starting at younger ages and is more frequent and aggressive than before.

“Unfortunately this cruel behavior increases with age,” she said in a Sun report. “It’s also troubling children don’t always tell us that they are being bullied.”

Bullying comes in many forms.

It can be physical (hitting, punching or beating), verbal (teasing, name calling or threats), emotional (intimidation using gestures, social exclusion or threats), or sexual.

It doesn’t matter what kind of bullying one experiences; its effects are equally harmful and must be stopped.

In the most extreme cases, bullying results in suicide.

This is why parents and educators have to take a more active role in making sure children don’t experience such abuse.

Next page find out the signs every parents should be aware of

Signs every parent must be aware of

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, there are certain signs that you as a parent need to be familiar with in order for you to glean whether or not your suspicions have any basis.

Here are some of them:

  • Unexplained physical marks, bruises or scrapes
  • Unexplained loss of toys, school supplies, clothing, lunches or money
  • Damaged or missing clothes, toys or electronics
  • Doesn’t want to go to school or partake in other activities with peers

“If you suspect bullying and your child won’t talk to you, arrange a conference with a trusted adult who knows your child,” the Sun report also said. “If your child has more than one teacher, you may need to meet with each teacher or coach.”

It should also be noted that that bullying doesn’t only occur within the school; parents should then figure out where and when their children are being bullied in order to address the issue properly.

Questions to ask your child’s teachers

Parents should also cultivate a good relationship with their kids’ teachers; this is to ensure that even out of their sight, their children are growing in every facet of their lives.

Asking these questions will paint in your head a better picture of what your child is like at school.

  • How does my child get along with other students in his or her class?
  • With whom does he or she spend free time?
  • Have you noticed or have you ever suspected that my child is being bullied by other students?

“If you are not comfortable talking with your child’s teacher or not satisfied with the conversation, make an appointment to meet with your child’s guidance counsellor or principal to discuss these concerns,” the report said.

Asking their friends and classmate may also prove insightful for concerned parents. The important thing to remember is to let children know they have your support and that you’re there to help.

READ: Anti Bullying Act: Helping Schools Keep Your Child Safe

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