It is true and incomprehensible that as parents we miss our children’s signs that they are being bullied. Are our heads in the sand, are we too busy, are their grades and performance in school more important? Are the changes that subtle that we accept what is? Wouldn’t their teacher have put us on notice? Do we attribute some of the behaviors to puberty, adolescence, stages in development?
We do all of these behaviors and rationalizations because it is painful to feel the hurt your child is experiencing. Feeling pain and hurt is always resistible even when the people we love the most exhibit changes that may indicate they are suffering silently. It demands action on our part and this is often very uncomfortable especially for those who avoid confrontation at all costs. And so we hope that it is only temporary and on their better days, we feel the relief and hope that somehow it all just disappeared. As parents, we have so many distractions today and spend less time with our children. Communication is limited and we pick up less nuances and subtleties.
If you see those subtle changes, withdrawal from activities, less enthusiasm, less willingness to participate in family, stop, observe and listen to their comments about what is going on around them. Their language will change. You will hear negative remarks, apathetic to even food choices, less talk about what was important to them before. Don’t jump to conclusions, just monitor their everyday choices and words. Make inquiries at school, especially about playground and lunch hours. Ask to speak to lunch aides and bus drivers. Do not confront your child until you have all the information and have a plan of action. Get advice from school counselors and parents you know that you can trust. If you can manage it, speak to a professional.
Please, do not let the bullying go on! The effects can be life-threatening and long lasting and certainly affect their quality of life.