Somewhere along the line, our society accepted bullying as a social norm for children. “How can kids learn to cope with the real world if they can’t handle a bully?” is a common misguided justification. Kids who don’t meet the standards of what they are socially expected to be aren’t accepted among their peers. Rather, they are treated like emotional punching bags for anyone deemed more culturally acceptable. But the life of a child is truly a special force in this world, and just because someone differs from physical, social, or cultural normativity doesn’t give anyone the right to treat them poorly. Differences should be celebrated, and bullying needs to be eradicated. The best way we can start is by making an effort to notice bullying and put a stop to it. Here are three warning signs. Headaches and Stomach Aches Anxiety is an emotional complex that tends to manifest itself in physical ways. If you notice your child has stress-related symptoms like headaches, ask them about their emotional well-being. An open-ended question like, “I’ve noticed you haven’t been feeling well a lot lately, can you tell me more about that?” will help open lines of communication. Change in Friends There are bound to be changes in friend groups throughout your child’s life, but that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t take notice when this happens. IS YOUR CHILD BEING BULLIED? Warning Signs You Can’t Ignore
When a child expresses disinterest in spending time with specific people, it could be a sign of bullying. Connecting with other parents who have children in the same circle could be a way to gauge the pulse of your child’s friend group. Confidence Issues Bullying has the potential to drop kids into a volatile cycle of confidence- killing self-talk. Bullying may produce external damage, but what goes on internally can be catastrophic for children. The continually progressing, technology-based environment our children live in nearly outpaces their ability to adjust and cope. Children often internalize their emotions, and when they are being bullied by someone online, their distress can be even harder to detect. The best way to be aware of how your children are feeling is to talk to them openly about their social interactions both online and offline. Summer is the perfect opportunity to discuss these issues with your child because they likely will be relaxed, comfortable, and out of school, where bullying often occurs. Then they can approach the new school year with confidence and self-worth. What parent doesn’t want that?
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