A reluctance to go to school in the morning
Because school is a hot spot for bullying, a child’s reluctance to wake up and head out in the morning could signal that something is amiss. With younger children, watch for recurring excuses to stay home, such as aches and pains, or frequent calls from the school nurse requesting an early pickup. With adolescents and teens, check in with teachers periodically to monitor attendance, as this age group is more likely to skip school altogether. Donna Clark-Love, a school bullying expert and prevention advisor in Houston, Texas, suggests keeping a special eye out early in the week when looking for signs of bullying. “Mondays are the most common day for wanting to avoid school,” she says. “Kids tend to feel safer at home on the weekends, and the idea of going back on Monday is difficult for them.” This is the genius way one teacher decided to put a stop to bullying in her classroom.
Frequent headaches and stomachaches
Headaches and stomachaches are common physical manifestations of the stress and anxiety associated with signs of bullying. They can also be ailments that are easy to fake as excuses to stay home from school and other social activities. If your child complains of these symptoms regularly, talk to them about it, suggests Bailey Lindgren, an associate at the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights’ (PACER) National Bully Prevention Center. “We recommend saying something like, ‘You seem to be feeling sick a lot lately; can you tell me more about that?” Asking open-ending questions creates a non-confrontational space where you can discuss the root of the problem. These are the 8 kids’ books about bullying every parent should read to their child.