What to do if your child is being bullied.

Bullying is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s simply a rite of passage for kids. And with 15 percent of Australian children reportedly bullied weekly, it has an impact on families, schools and society.

Identifying whether your child is being bullied can be difficult, as many kids tend to feel ashamed and suffer in silence.

Bullying expert Dr Ken Rigby, of the University of South Australia, and author of Children and Bullying: How Parents and Educators Can Reduce Bullying in Schools, says to look out for signs such as:

  • Bruises, scratches or cuts
  • Non-specific pains, headaches, abdominal pains or mouth sores
  • Unwillingness to go to school
  • Deterioration in school work
  • Being invited out much less often
  • Unexpected mood swings
  • Not eating, or overeating
  • Being unable to sleep, nightmares, bed-wetting, crying out during sleep.
  • Being tired or run-down

As a parent, what can you do if your child is being bullied? Though it may be tempting to take matters into your own hands and head to the school yourself to beat the snot out of the kid, that won’t solve anything. (Especially if you end up in jail.)

First, reassure your child that they were quite right to come and tell you, and that it isn’t okay that they’re being bullied.

If your child doesn’t want you to speak to the school, suggest that they speak to a trusted teacher and come up with a plan to deal with it. You can also do some roleplay with them to help develop skills so that they’re prepared for future encounters.

For more resources to deal with bullying, go to bullyingnoway.com.au.

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