Post #2 (5-Part Series)
At COMPASSION IT, we encourage schools and parents to introduce compassion to prevent and curb bullying. Our reversible wristbands are an easy and tangible tool that make compassion accessible for all ages.
Bullying happens more often than we think. Have you ever had this thought? “I’m SURE my child won’t get bullied. And if she does, she’ll tell me about it.”
That’s exactly what I thought until I received a surprising call from my daughter’s principal last week. He asked, “Did Hannah tell you what happened yesterday?” My response was, “Ummm…nooo…” The principal explained that during recess, a boy had kicked Hannah.
I was shocked. Our typical dinnertime routine is to share the best and worst parts of our days, and Hannah did not bring this up.
That was a single incident, which means it wasn’t bullying (see this post for more on the definition of bullying). Nonetheless, I’m not so sure anymore that Hannah will tell me if someone bullies her. By researching this topic, I’ve learned that many children and adolescents are unwilling to tell a parent or teacher that they’re getting bullied.
There are a variety of reasons why children won’t admit they’re getting bullied:
1 - They don’t think adults can help.
2 - They think the bullying children might harm them more.
3 - They are ashamed.
4 – They don't want to be considered a tattletale.
To nip bullying in the bud, we can open our eyes to these signs.
Signs of bullying
1 - Torn or lost possessions
If your child’s clothing, jewelry, backpack, books, or electronics are damaged, be sure to kindly inquire about what happened.
2 – Unexplained injuries
Do you see some bruises on your child? Or maybe scratches? When you ask “What happened?,” don’t be appeased by, “Nothing.” Gently dig deeper to see if there’s something that warrants concern.
3 - Faking illness or frequent stomachaches or headaches
Is your child not interested in attending school anymore? Does she seem to have frequent headaches or stomachaches? You might want to find out if she is avoiding someone who hurts her (either physically or psychologically).
4 - Changes in eating habits
Perhaps your child has lost his appetite or is binge eating. This may be a sign that something is wrong.
5 - Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
Many of us have experience insomnia when we’re going through a stressful time, and our children may as well. If you notice that your child is unable to sleep, see if you can find out why.
6 - Less interest in schoolwork, declining grades
If your straight-A student begins to drop the ball on homework and tests, try to keep your disappointment at bay and offer your child compassion. Perhaps she’s getting bullied and needs your help.
7 – Loss of friends and/or avoidance of social interactions
If your once social teen is beginning to avoid parties or seems to have fewer friends, you can gently inquire about what’s happening at school (or in cyberspace).
8 – Feelings of helplessness
Perhaps you’ve noticed a major mood shift in your child, and he seems unhappy. He doesn’t seem to care about much anymore. That is a warning sign that something is up.
9 – Self-destructive behavior
If you child is running away from home, harming herself, or brings up suicide, you should contact the school and seek out a therapist to help. (Perhaps the school has a psychologist or counselor who can help.)
By cultivating awareness of our child’s behaviors and observing any changes, hopefully we can stop the bullying before it gets out of hand.
Order COMPASSION IT wristbands as a simple tool for introducing compassion to children.