Good parents are responsible and take the time to know about the welfare of their children. That person will do his or her best to make sure the child grows up to become a sensible and good person. A parent knows what a child is going through by making the most with communication, which means using spare time to talk and bond with the child. However, even though your child may confide his or her problems with you, there are some problems such as bullying that you will not know about. Most of the time, you never know that your child may be a victim of Bullies even though you pride yourself to be the best parent out there.
Bullying is one of the worst experiences a child can have while growing up. It greatly affects how the victim will behave in future life. According to the American Psychological Association, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. A bullied child can show symptoms such as: low esteem, quiet, frightful, depressed, lonely, and an anxious person. In the future, bullied children may also become a bully in their future families. They may also suffer from a major illness because of their depression. At its worst, bullying can also be a cause of death.
Why bullies bully is something that does not exactly have an answer. This is because there will always be a different answer depending on the person you ask. Some people may find bullying an enjoyable thing to do, while some do it because they have been bullied, too. Bullying can be categorized into six different types which are as follows:
- Verbal Bullying – As the name implies, this type of bullying is mainly with words. Bullies call people names which are hurtful and embarrassing and may cause them to lose their self-esteem. This type of bullying is common for children who are mentally-retarded or with special needs.
- Cyber-bullying – With the rise of high technology, cyber-bullying is almost everywhere. For this type of bullying, technology is needed. Posting embarrassing and cruel images, making threats online, or sending mean jokes to the one being bullied are examples.
- Physical Bullying – Physical strength is what the bully is projecting with this kind of bullying. Physical bullies usually come in groups and target the people they regard as weak or small. Use of force is applied in which punching, hitting, shoving, kicking, and slapping are most definitely involved.
- Prejudicial Bullying – Most of the prejudicial bullies are racists. They have different views over sexual orientation, races, religion, and other things. In turn, this makes them bully other people that they think have a different kind of thinking from them. This type can be severe and may lead to groups of killing other individuals in order for them to show that they can fight for what they believe in.
- Relational Aggression – This is a sneaky type of bullying that even the relative of the person being bullied does not notice the bullying. What happens here is that the bully usually manipulates the other person to be in a higher social standing. This type is often seen in a typical high school movie scenario where a popular girl is making a nerdy girl follow whatever she wants. For the popular girl, this is quite fun, but it is actually a form of bullying that can result to a much lower self-esteem in the other person who is being manipulated.
- Sexual Bullying – This type of bullying closely matches sexual harassment. A sexual bully may call unwarranted sex names, vulgar gestures on the person being bullied, rude comments being shown to everyone on the Internet, and some uninvited touching. Girls are commonly the victims of this kind of bullying. A sexual bully, for example, may make unsophisticated comments over a pretty picture of a girl that is being shown on the Internet. The bully then may stalk her in the hopes of finding other pictures that can be used to make more rough comments about the victim again. This may happen repeatedly and in some cases may get even more intense, resulting in sexual assault.
Bullying can start in your own home. It can start as early as when your child goes to school for the first time. Bullying is also popular when your child goes to high school. In addition, college days do not mean it is a bully-free zone. There are even bullies at work, so you can conclude that bullies are everywhere. The question is how do you know that your child is being bullied? Here are some of the signs which may help you recognize that your child is being bullied, even if he or she does not tell you so:
- Comes home hungry often – You may have given your child money or a packed lunch on his or her way to school. However, your child returns home hungry and appears to have not eaten anything all day. To be sure, it is important to ask why your child is so hungry. There may be other reasons such as bad tasting cafeteria food and your child prefers your cooking better. Another reason could be that your child gives food away to be liked by a popular bunch of kids from school.
- Missing friends – You know who your child’s friends are but it may seem like they have disappeared. If there are no phone calls, no group projects to be done, and no home visits, you better ask why. They may just have a simple misunderstanding and you may be overthinking.
- Habitual Damage and Misplacing of Things – This is one of the most obvious signs that your child is being bullied. A damaged possession or a lost toy can be very fishy especially if you know your child to be someone who takes extra care of his or her stuff. Remember to ask about it carefully and make sure to observe if your child really means every word he or she says.
- Being Lonely Most of the Time – As your child return home from school, there is no conversation and your child focuses directly on a laptop or cellphone. See for yourself if your child shows signs of being upset after going online to visit whatever online social media or after reading a text message. Observe how well your child reacts to things you say. Recall the instances when what you say to your child makes him or her happy once, but then it does not have the same effect this time.
- Wearing Weird Clothes – As a parent, you know your child’s sense of style and you may be wondering why your son switched to the “long sleeves look” all of the sudden. Wearing long sleeves all the time can be a sign that your child is hiding the bruises or cuts that he had during a bullying episode. Check your child’s arms, legs, or whatever part of his body that seems awkwardly clothed suddenly.
- Classes Postponed or Dismissal Too Soon – A bullied child does not want to go to school because this is where the bullies are. They may often come home early due to reasons like classes have been postponed because of a meeting or classes have ended too soon because the subject teacher is on leave or sick. The best way to know for sure is to call the school to verify your suspicions.
Avoiding Bullies and Not Becoming One of Them
As a parent, you are very much concerned about how your child will go on without you. You cannot be with them at all times, so it is only right that you worry when they are out of your sight. You can see how crazy bullying can be in the movies, in the statistics, and even in the bullies quotes. Therefore, this is something you do not want your child to go through. Thankfully, there are some ways that can help your child avoid being bullied and becoming a bully:
- Have a healthy relationship with your child. Healthy communication everyday can be your ticket to know what your child is feeling. Be open and your child will be open to you as well. Talking to children about their social life will make you more welcome in their world. A simple question about how well he or she did that day during dinner time can lead to more conversations and can make you know your child better.
- Teach your child to be a good person. A kind person is well-liked by everyone – this is something that your child has to know. Teach your child not to be of the bullying nature just because he or she wants to excel in some areas. Instill good moral values that can help your child become a good person. This includes telling your child to stop harshness that may lead to bullying, like shoving, teasing, and saying something that is hurtful, even though they are meant as a joke. Teach your kid to be polite, but at the same time, someone who does not let other people trample his or her rights.
- Participate in your child’s school activities. Being active in your child’s school means that you want to be a part of his or her world and your child may find it as encouraging. You can spend time in some school activities, which can help you strengthen your relationship with your child. If you cannot do so because of work, try taking the day off to ensure healthy bonding with your child. This way, you will also know more about the school’s policies and be able to get in touch with the school’s personnel. A good relationship with these people can also help you understand what the standing of your child is at the school. You can also observe how well your child socializes with schoolmates and friends.
- Observe your child’s behavior over a particular person. If your child talks about someone in a different way, know more about that person. Never do something without confirming you’re your child is being bullied. Once confirmed, talking to that person is the best thing for you to do. To make it more effective, you can act with the school board because there is a chance that this person may not be bullying your child alone. Some other victims may be afraid to speak up. With the school’s help, you can be assured that your child, along with the others, can step out and have a normal life again.
You must know that bullying does not always happen personally. They can also be experienced on the Internet as well. While it may be unethical to know your son’s password, or hack into his account to know what he has been up to, you can always learn how what he does on Internet by asking him and being attentive to his posts. You can read the comments on his posts and keep an eye on those who are making rash ones. If you think that those comments are done repeatedly by the same person, you can start asking your child about him. If he does not tell you anything, it is your duty as a good parent to investigate yourself.
Working with the School
One good way to prevent bullying is to be in touch with your child’s school. With your help, the school can implement an anti-bullying program that can benefit every child and other parents as well. Bear in mind that bullying can be prevented. Every child who knows about his or her rights can defeat the bullies. A little child does not have to be afraid to deal with big kids at school anymore. A nerdy pupil does not have to be afraid of losing his project which he worked on overnight because he knows that someone will not take it. Your child will have a wonderful learning experience in school because of the absence of bullies.
A good parent is not just about giving everything your child needs. It is also about knowing what those needs are and delivering them personally. Have a good, healthy, and fruitful relationship with your child, and in return, you will know everything there is about him. Maintain a close relationship, so there will be no secrets hidden. Mold your child into someone that you want him to be, not someone you want yourself to be through him. Remember, whether your child is being bullied or bullying other kids, bullying can be prevented and the solution always begins at home.