Do you worry that your child is being bullied in school? Some children may be open with their parents about difficult social situations, but many won’t want to share their hurt feelings. Stuart W. Twemlow and Frank Sacco, the authors of Why School Anti-Bullying Programs Don’t Work, share their advice on how to tell if your child is suffering at the hands of a bully.
The most important thing is that parents are tuned into their child’s behavior to notice when something changes. “You can pick up on subtle clues, but this takes time and a certain amount of luck. Bad things can happen to children even if the parents do everything right,” Twemlow and Sacco write.
Common changes in behavior include:
- Becoming unhappy at the end of the weekend
- Making excuses to avoid school
- A drop in formerly good grades
- A withdrawal from social activities
- Lack of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
- Expresses feelings of self-hatred or hopelessness
Twemlow and Sacco further note that boys are still just as vulnerable to bullying as girls. They recommend that parents take proactive actions against bullying, like asking how school administrators what they’re doing to keep kids feeling safe, before the problem erupts. It’s important for parents to remember that bullies may also be suffering in their own way, and are probably more in need of counseling than punishment.