As a parent, you want your child to come to you if they’re in trouble or if they need help. But bullying is something that children don’t always feel comfortable talking about with their parents. They may feel embarrassed – bullying often involves attempts to humiliate the victim by sharing private information or secrets, spreading unflattering rumors, or shaming the victim in some way. They may fear that parental interference will make the problem worse instead of better. Or, they may simply not want to worry their parents. But you can’t help if you don’t know what’s going on. Here are some red flags that can let you know that your child is being bullied.
Changes in Friend Groups
Sometimes, old friends turn into bullies, leaving children feeling isolated.
It’s normal for children to gain some new friends and lose old ones over time. But a sudden and unexplained change in friend groups could also be a sign that your child’s old friends are now friends with someone who is bullying your child, or even that they’re participating in the bullying themselves.
If your child doesn’t seem to be socializing with any friends, new or old, that’s even more concerning. Social isolation is often a sign that a child is being bullied. It can be tough for a bullying victim to make new friends – other children may worry that by befriending a bullying victim, they’ll become targets themselves.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns
There is evidence that shows that a large number of children with sleep problems are victims of bullying. Sleep problems include things like nightmares, night terrors, and sleepwalking.
You will probably notice if your child starts sleepwalking or having night terrors. Nightmares aren’t as obvious, and your child may keep them to his or herself. But if you notice that your child is tired more often, or if they seem to be awake at late hours of the night, that could be a sign that they’re having nightmares or that they’re avoiding sleep. This could mean that they’re being bullied.
Changes in Interests
It’s hard to concentrate in school when you’re being bullied.
A child may avoid activities that they usually like if they’re being bullied. For example, if your child is normally an enthusiastic soccer player or Boy Scout or Girl Scout, but they’re now talking about quitting their team or troop or finding reasons to duck practices or meetings, that could be a sign that they’re being bullied. If your child has recently started avoiding a particular playground or popular gathering place for local kids, that could also be a sign that they’re avoiding bullies.
This behavior also applies to school. It’s not necessarily normal for kids to dislike going to school. If a child who previously enjoyed school becomes resistant about going, it could be that negative things are happening there, like bullying. A sudden drop in grades is also a red flag that something may be wrong.
Keeping an eye on your child’s online activity can help you understand what’s going on. A lot of bullying today takes place online, so monitoring your child’s devices for signs of cyber bullying can help to keep them safe. To find out how parental monitoring software can help you protect your child from bullies, get our free trial.