How to identify if your child is being bullied or not?
Zubaida was exceptionally quiet that day. She came back from school, barely touched her food and went straight up to her bedroom. I heard her sobbing while I walked passed the door. After that day, things were never the same. My little bubbly girl became reserved. Often I noticed the fright in her eyes whenever someone mentioned about her school. Being a teacher myself I immediately recognized the behavioral patterns. So, one evening I started chatting lightly. After a good 15 minutes of a tete-a-tete, she finally confided in me. A few students of her senior class was intimidating her with their aggressive behavior. In short, she was being bullied in the school.
Bullying can affect everyone. From those who are bullied to those who witness the bullying. It is a form of aggressive behavior which repeatedly causes another person discomfort. Childhood bullying can have consequences for a life long. It affects the growth and personality of a child.
Bullying can be many things, like name-calling, unnecessary fighting, spreading rumors, stereotyping, public shaming and aggressive intimidation. It can happen in real life or in online platforms.
Signs of being bullied
Research says that about 7% of students across USA claimed that they were being bullied based on their religion. Another 6% reported that they were bullied due to their immigrant status. A bullying survey of Islamic adolescents in California found that about 53% of Islamic students have faced religious-based bullying in school. It is near twice the national average reported in 2017.
If a child is being bullied, he or she might remain silent. Beacause this silence is out of fear, shame, helplessness or embarrassment, so parents must lookout for this pattern and ask the kid earnestly and comfortingly what is bothering him or her. Remember, you have to be your child’s confidante.
The warning signs of being bullied are often overlooked as they match with certain adolescent behavior. But, a proper parent should always be on the lookout for-
- Torn clothing or lost belongings
- Avoidance of social situations
- Reluctance to go to school
- Unusual silence
- Trouble eating or sleeping
- Self-destructive behavior
Strategies to prevent bullying
Talk to your child
Communication is the key and talking about bullying before it affects severely always helps to prevent it. Ask your child about school. What good or bad things happen there? What is it like at lunch, break or on the school bus? Does he or she have friends? How others behave around him or her?
Trust me, every day if you talk about these for 10 minutes, you will get a clear scenario. From that, you can actually identify if your child is safe or not.
Have a strategy of responding
Talk to your kid about plans for responding to bullying. Give ideas like walking away from the situation. Talking to a friend or trusted teacher about what has happened. Avoiding people or places that don’t feel safe. Encourage your child to make more friends.
Teach your child to be a defender
Often when a child is bullied, others merely protest or defend him. Sometimes the bystanders may indulge in bullying too. Forbid your kid from doing so. Teach that protesting against injustice is what Allah expects us to do. Defending a bully-victim has positive effects. Taking action helps to prevent bullying. Encourage your child to be empathetic and kind. Ask them to befriend those kids who may be a target of bullying. Also, it is a must that he or she reports bullying to a trusted adult.
Prevention of cyber bullying
Monitor your kid’s time spent online and contents. Also, don’t forget to follow your kid’s social media account. Make yourself approachable so that the kid can come and talk about any problem.
Give advice, but don’t impose anything on the child. Remember, if you impose something, he or she will definitely not follow it. So be a friend and observe silently. If you notice any harassment, take necessary steps. Bullying is a social problem for decades. But if we are aware and conscious, we can prevent it from harming our children.