It is a word that every parent dreads, but bullying is a reality in the lives of many children. As parents, we can never completely protect our children from the other people they will meet as the go to school each day, attend extra-curricular clubs and become more and more independent. So if your child is being bullied, don?t blame yourself. People of all ages suffer from bullying, and the only one to blame is the person inflicting the bullying behaviour.

Signs your Child Might be Being Bullied

The following are a few signs that may indicate your child is being bullied. All of these signs could be caused by other things, but they may help you to decide whether to look further into the idea that your child might be being bullied.

Physical Injuries
Wetting the Bed
Missing Possessions
Broken Possessions
Changes in Appetite (eating less or comfort eating)
Sudden clinginess
Feigning Illness
Stomach Pains
Poor Sleep
Suddenly becoming withdrawn
Drop in academic performance
Disinterest or embarrassment at hobbies
School Anxiety

How to Discuss Bullying with your Child

It isn?t an easy topic, but you need to talk to your child about what is going on. If you suspect bullying is taking place, then you need to gauge your child’s reaction carefully. While one child will respond best to a direct question about what is going on, another may clam up when you mention it. If you are worried your child will be defensive or withdrawn when you mention to topic, then try asking in a roundabout way. Ask if there is anyone at school who is mean to other children (not to them specifically), or get your child to tell you about the people in their class and describe them to you. If your child comes home from school with an injury, a broken or missing possession or is particularly distressed, you may have to be very firm with them and tell them how important it is for them to tell you the truth about how the injury/theft/upset happened. Reassure them that they are in no trouble at all and that you will sort it out. Make sure they know you are on their side.

Who to Talk To

First of all, talk to your child. If you are able to confirm that the bullying is going on or if talking to your child doesn?t give you any real answers, then discuss it with the teacher or other person in authority where you believe the bullying to be taking place. Take their advice on how to move forward and consult them before approaching the parents of another child.

If you do have to approach other parents, do so very carefully. Imagine how they feel being told that their child is bullying another child. It will feel to them that they are being accused and the situation could become really difficult. Avoid conflict, try to explain the facts as they are, not your interpretation. Ask what you should do ? they will react better if they feel you are asking for their help and advice.

The information contained on Babytime.ie is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.