As a parent bullying is something you’d never wish your child to experience.
But perhaps more worrying is the idea that it’s happening, and you don’t realise.
After all, kids are good at hiding their feelings sometimes, and when you’re not with them all day it’s hard to know what’s going on.
According to recent research by the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre, there are some common signs that your child may be experiencing bullying.
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns which can indicate stress.
- If your child stops wanting to play with friends they used to like, or stops wanting to do activities they used to love.
- Suddenly getting embarrassed by something unusual that happens in public.
- Feeling ‘sick’ on school days but happy and well on the weekend.
Read more about bullying:
- Teresa Palmer’s 4-year-old son was the target of bullies
- His daughter was bullied, so this dad wrote her a rap song
- What I want my primary school bully to know
It can be easy to dismiss bullying as something that happens to older children, but according to the Raising Children’s Network, it can begin as early as the preschool years.
Tackling the behaviour as early as possible is the most important thing you can do as a parent.
But where do you start?
Amp up the love, support and reassurance at home
Give your child your full attention and reassure them that what has been going on isn’t okay and also, isn’t their fault.
The Raising Children’s Network advises saying something like: “It didn’t happen because you’re smaller than the other kids. Paddy might have been upset about something at home. But that’s no excuse.”
Steer clear of negative language
Remember that this is a tough experience for your child but also one that will help them understand how to navigate relationships throughout life. Try not to say things like, “Stand up for yourself “or “Don’t worry you can stay at home today.”
Contact your child’s school
Make an appointment to speak with your child’s teacher privately. While it’s an emotional time, try not to make accusations and ask for the teacher’s perspective on the situation. Make a plan with the teacher to tackle the problem and keep in touch with them regularly.
At the end of the day, our role as parents is to teach our children the tools to become safe, healthy and happy adults.
Helping them deal with bullying is a part of that learning, even though it can be an emotional experience for everyone involved.
Stay calm, stay loving and you’ll all get through this.