When it comes to bullying, most kids may keep quiet about this matter. They may keep this a secret from their friends and even the adults in their lives, especially their parents.
The reason for keeping mum about bullying can vary, but it’s established that bullying can be scary and confusing, leaving kids unsure of how they should handle it.
Trying to figure out what to do may be one of the factors as to why they did not tell anyone. Others may include how the bullying is embarrassing and painful and perceive telling someone as relieving the painful memories.
Sometimes, they worry that whoever they tell about the bullying may agree with the aggressors or that they deserve this treatment. However, staying silent usually backfires since the bullies will only get bolder, allowing the bullying to escalate.
As parents, we should use our observation skills, ask questions, and look out for certain nonverbal actions (e.g. body language) to discern if they are keeping something from us. Here are some signs to look out for if your child is being bullied:
1. Reluctance to go to school
Since school is a hotspot for bullying, a child’s reluctance to get up from bed and leave the house could indicate something is wrong. Do not just dismiss it as the usual “I don’t want to go to school” mood, especially if the child is giving excuses to stay home, such as stomachaches or frequent calls from the sick bay requesting to be picked up early.
For children, such as those in secondary school, check in with the teachers regularly to see if they have been attending class since they are likelier to skip classes that they share with the bullies or skip school altogether. It’s also telling if the school holds special events (e.g. Sports Day), and the child outright refuses to go.
Take special note if the child refuses to go to school on a Monday, because it’s one of the more common days to avoid school. After all, kids feel more secure at home on weekends, and the thought of returning to that place is challenging.
2. Obsession or withdrawal from electronic devices
If your child’s bullying is happening online (called cyberbullying), you may notice two scenarios: either your child is obsessed with electronic devices or downright refuses to use them anymore.
In the former case, the child may become agitated if you try and set limits on their usage. In the latter, you may find it challenging to get hold of your child at any time since they may refuse to use their phones for anything.
Either way, they may not admit to being targeted online for fear that their parents would not allow them to use their electronic devices.
As parents, we should set up rules and guidelines for online engagement when kids surf social media. Show the child you have no intention of confiscating any devices and that you are looking out for their mental health by solving the problem.
3. Your child starts to have emotional outbursts
Should your child or teenager have intense emotional reactions when the conversation is about school or social activities, it may be a sign that they harbour anxiety around those subjects. Moreover, look for indications that they may seem moody, sad, or depressed, especially if the cause is unknown.
The same is true if your kid seems angry, stressed out, frustrated or agitated. Younger kids in primary school may express their emotions when talking about school. For those in secondary school, it may also include any plans they may have on Friday and Saturday nights.
Either way, the emotional jag will be there, and the child may give vague answers and are unwilling to divulge more details. These mood changes usually do not go away after a short while and are evident in activities involving other people.
4. Difficulties with sleeping
Bullying situations are stressful, affecting your child’s sleeping patterns. After all, they may be kept awake by nerves or anxiety as to what will happen the next day at school if they are being bullied. This will lead to them tossing and turning throughout the night.
Be on the lookout if your child has difficulties getting up in the morning or falling asleep at night. Even if they seem to have enough sleep, do take note if they seem tired at breakfast or look more weary than usual since it may indicate a lack of sleep on their side.
The exhaustion can also show in other ways, such as recurring nightmares, inability to focus, or if their academics start to waver.
Even if your child is not being bullied or is not showing any signs, you can talk to them about bullying prevention. After all, there is a common phrase, “knowledge is power.” In this case, knowledge will give you the chance to take action in time before the bullying can take any more toll on your child’s mental health.
If you notice your child exhibiting any signs of bullying and are at a loss of what to do, you can reach out to us at A Space Between. We can match you to a therapist who provides family therapy session in Singapore.
From there, you can speak to the therapist, who can provide advice on how you can support your child during this challenging time.
Our therapy rooms, such as the charcoal grey practitioner room, are designed to invoke calm, allowing your child to open up more about their personal issues.
While we provide the rooms, the therapist we matched you to can provide any supportive resources you may need to help your child solve the bullying problem. Should you want to work with us on helping your bullied child, visit our therapist directory today.
No matter what you’re facing, perhaps our website can offer up some solace or comfort. Know that you’re not alone, and that there is help available. This can be hard to keep in mind if you haven’t quite found the right support system. While it’s definitely not easy to find the right fit—whether you’re looking for a support group or a mental health provider—with diligence, it’s totally possible.
If you are a therapist, life coach or counsellor looking to join our growing community, head over to book a tour once you have learnt about the plans we offer. At A Space Between, there is a ready league of providers you can network with. With professionals from various backgrounds and therapy practices, there are bound to be the ones you can connect with. Private practice does not have to be lonely.