Bullying brings significant impacts to young victims in various ways, physically, mentally, socially and academically. I will talk more about these in below parts on the changes after being bullied.
More importantly, these impacts could not only affect their childhood, but could also persist into adulthood. They could be unable to be in a stable relationship or earn lower income because of avoiding schools. They could even learn the bully behaviours and become an aggressor, forming a vicious cycle of bullying.
So, how can you spot if your child is being bullied and help stop the problem promptly?
· Emotional change: victims could become unusually withdrawn and quiet, anxious and frightened, less confident and depressed, or have an outburst of anger when they are suffering and feel hard to ask for help.
· Behaviour change: sudden changes in their behaviours could also be resulted, for example, avoiding schools and social gatherings, decline in academic performance, eating and sleeping disorder, and dressing in different style.
· Physical change: with physical bullying, there would be damages caused, for example, unexplained bruises and cuts, damaged uniforms and belongings, and physical distress like stomach aches and headaches. Be alert if your child wear long-sleeves even in warm weather or frequently feel unwell.
· Self-harm: apart from being hurt by others, victims could also deliberately hurt themselves to cope with painful emotions, for example, misusing drugs or alcohol, cutting or burning skin, pulling out hair, head banging.
Be aware of these signs and any other unusual behaviours of your child. Take immediate actions to deal with bullying, and we will talk about possible solutions next time.
**If your child is experiencing bullying or just wants someone to talk to, they can contact Childline, Samaritans, or of course, our safeguarding lead, Dr Li Foster.