Many parents think it won’t happen to their child, but bullying is a common occurrence and with mobile phones and social media offering new ways for bullies to target their victims, children and teens are more at risk than ever.
It’s important for parents to be vigilant for signs of bullying. Here are some behavioural changes that can indicate a child is being bullied.
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Pretending to be ill when getting ready for school
  • Complaining of headaches, stomach aches and other ailments
  • Refusing to eat breakfast on school days
  • Acting aggressively and wanting to be left alone
  • Experiencing difficulty sleeping
  • Suffering an unexplained drop in grades
  • Becoming upset after going online or receiving a text
  • Not wanting to take part in after school activities
  • Refusing to talk about their day at school
If you’ve noticed any of these changes taking place and are worried your child is being bullied, it’s important to talk to them. Rather than putting them on the spot and asking them directly if they are being bullied, it’s important to be sensitive about the situation and allow them to volunteer the information without feeling ashamed or defensive. These tips will help you deal with your concerns.
  • Ask questions that will make them open up and tell you if something is wrong – like “how was school today?”
  • Be calm and supportive and reiterate that it is your role as a parent to protect them
  • Explain to them that you are proud of them and nothing will change that
  • Allow them to choose how they wish to be helped - otherwise they might be afraid that intervention will only make it worse
  • They may want to tackle the issue themselves, so mention websites or services such as Childline’s text service for children experiencing bullying.
Remember to always be patient with your child and to remain calm no matter how upset you are by the situation.