Red Flags of Bullying

Has your child ever been BULLIED? If so, what should you do?


This week I’m responding to some common questions that parents ask about bullying. Here’s one:


“Dr. Dr. Bill, I’ve heard that some kids won’t tell their parents or a teacher that they are being bullied.   Is that true?”


Yes, many kids won’t disclose they are being bullied because they are embarrassed or ashamed. Also, some bullies warn their victims that if they tell anyone about the bullying, they will face even worse consequences.


Because of this, it’s important for parents to be aware of certain “red flags.” Those may include unexplained physical symptoms like stomachaches or a sore throat—often these seem to materialize just before leaving for school or getting on the school bus.


Another warning sign is nightmares. Pay attention if your child is having recurring nightmares but there are no apparent stresses in their life that would explain them. It could be because they are being bullied at school.


So how can you get your child to open up and tell you what’s happening?


Kids will often share what’s going on at school while snuggling at bedtime, while on a walk with mom or dad, or even while driving in the car. If you suspect your child might be being bullied, one of the best ways to get them to confide in you is to “normalize” the experience by sharing about your own childhood.


For example you might say, “I remember when I was a kid, there was this kid in my school who used to pick on me (or pick on another child). I’m wondering if that might be happening to you.”


If your child shares that they are being bullied, it’s critical not to make them feel embarrassed or ashamed.


I’ll have more on bullying tomorrow.


I’m Dr. Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.