Notable Attitudinal Change– Bullying is a probable cause when students begin to withdraw into themselves, become quieter and interact less there may be a cause for concern. If they suddenly start having mood swings, prickly, depressed or have any strange behaviours, it is wise to be attentive. You might also want to pay attention to their eating and sleeping habits. Eating more may also mean that they are being deprived of the food in school. While eating less may mean that they are having appetite issues as a result of being bullied. They may even become bullies themselves in school or at home. Less sleep, needing night lights, nightmares may also be telltales of bullying.
Enthusiasm Towards School– If a student who was more active with school activities and had an obvious zest for learning starts to fail or is disinterested they may be victims of bullying. Notice if they are not enthused about school. Do not want to go by themselves or leave earlier/wait later than everyone else. Pay close attention to any changes in their approach to school as it may be indicative of bullying.
Explainable Injuries– Random cuts and bruises are signs of bullying. If they are recurrent consider looking for other signs and probing for bullying. They may be getting into fights or be getting beaten by bullies. Notice their attitudes when you ask them about it.
Lost or Damaged Properties– Bullying can take a lot of forms and so nothing is impossible. If a child turns up with a missing button, turn uniforms, broken water bottles, missing books, etc. please pay attention. Once you have been able to rule out carelessness the next point of consideration is that they are being bullied. You might want to notice their attitude towards money too. Are they losing money or asking for more than they should need.
Recurrent Ill Health– Students who are being bullied are likely to develop stomach aches and headaches as a result of mental stress and anxiety. They may also develop self-esteem issues that result in isolation and depression as a result. Often time, they may even fake being ill to skip going to school. Or to avoid socializing with others to eliminate the risk of being bullied.
These are only a few telltale signs to look out for and pay attention to. They are not conclusive in themselves and so particular attention must be paid. Once you have observed that your child or student is being bullied, have a conversation with them. They may not be very interested in talking initially but showing that you care and are available may encourage them.
Bullying is unhealthy and can make or mar the victims long term and thus should be addressed with urgency. Come back next week for tips on how to handle bullying situations.