At Nightingale we are keen to promote all topics related to Public Health.
Raising awareness on the subject of Children being bullied at school is one such topic.
There are many warning signs that may indicate that your child is affected by bullying, either being bullied or bullying others. Recognising the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. It is important to remember that not all children who are bullied or are bullying others will ask for help.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem include:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewellery
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating.
- Children may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviours
Possible signs that your child is bullying others
- Gets into physical or verbal fights
- Has friends who bully others
- Are increasingly aggressive at home
- Gets sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
- Blame others for their problems
- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
- Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
Children do not necessarily feel able to tell grownups about their problems for various reasons
- Bullying can make a child feel helpless; children may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tell-tales.
- Children may fear backlash from the child who bullied them.
- Bullying can be a humiliating experience; children may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
- Children who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could possibly understand.
So what next?
In the first instance, at a primary or secondary school, see the class teacher/form tutor and explain your worries in a friendly non-confrontational way.
Questions that you might consider:
- Ask how your child is getting on with others in class and raise any issues of conflict with other children.
- Ask if the teacher has noticed that your child seems unhappy and isolated and is being excluded from games or social groups in the playground or regularly not having a partner to work with in class.
- Ask the class teacher, or the head of house at secondary school, if he/she can keep an eye on the situation and let you know if they have any concerns.
- Ask what the teacher suggests would be the best way of sorting it out. This puts the ball very firmly in their court and makes it clear that action is required.
- If you have spoken in person to the teacher follow this up with an email conforming key points, ask that a copy be placed in your child’s school record and also ask for a written response or action plan from the school.