Bullying 5-9: the signs – Parentchannel.tv

I got kicked, pinched, punched, bitten… …verbally abused. When I was bullied at primary school, it was
not a very obvious type of bullying and it was just where I was being excluded. One of
the incidents I remember was where I’d gone up to a group of people who I thought were
my friends and I joined in a conversation and one of the girls turned to me and said,
“Why you here?” And I said, “Well, what do you mean, why am I here?” And she said, “Don’t
stand here. You’re not welcome.” If you’re a parent and you find out your small
child’s being bullied, you’re just devastated. You know, we all want our children to be popular
and have friends and the fact that they might be picked on, somebody else might not like
them is devatasting to parents. I felt sick. I felt guilty. I felt like I’d
lost control looking after my child. If your child was being bullied, how would
you know? If parents suspect their young children are
being bullied, the most obvious thing to look out for is mood changes. Often kids that are
being bullied get withdrawn, they get upset. They might be saying that they are being sick
and they don’t want to go to school. They change their moods. You’ll notice as a parent
if something’s up with them. One of the first signs might be that your
child is not behaving in ways which are average and normal for them, so if your child is outgoing
and suddenly becomes quite introverted, perhaps their eating habits are different. It’s really
about knowing your child and why would he or she suddenly act very differently. Other things you can look out for are: torn clothing from when they come home from school,
or if they’re missing something like, for example, if their pencil case goes missing
or a bag goes missing, something gets scuffed or damaged in some way. Often those are indicators
that something is going on for them at school. Is the child attempting to cover up? You know,
is an eight year old suddenly locking the bathroom door? They don’t want you to see
their arms or legs? Are they hiding bruises? They will work hugely hard to hide the fact
that it’s happening. Small children blame themselves a lot for
things that happen to them, so they quite often think it’s their fault. You know, the
bully’s picked on them because of something wrong with them and actually that’s not true. There was one evening, I caught Connor at the top of the stairs with tears in his eyes
and I just sat with him and I just said to him, “What’s going on at school?” And he told
me that the boy had been threatening him, calling him names, telling him what he was
going to do to him when he got outside school. And I was just so glad that he’d told me.
I put my arms round him and told him that I would help him. One of the main things is for a parent to listen to their child and not to be immediately
talking at them, or almost leaking one’s pain and it becomes more about you and not the
child. Believing them, absolutely believing them, because many victims of abuse generally
fear not being believed and also letting them know that now there will be solutions, that
the family, and the school and other adults, that perhaps need to be involved, will work
together to solve the problem.