A child or young person is bullied or picked on when another child or young person or group of children says nasty and unpleasant things to him/her. A recent study aimed to examine bullying in Nigerian secondary schools reveals that bullying in boarding schools, differs from the bullying in day school, while threatening, rumor spreading, extortion, hitting/flogging, name calling, slandering and physical injuries, remain as similarities. Where in boarding school is more recurrent and persistent the long term effect on the young child could be very harmful.
Bullying is more frequent with boys than girls, and boys actually see bullying as part of growing up – this is a notion that must be corrected. In boarding houses where bullying is more severe than day school, students see bullying as part of the system. Senior students bully their juniors as a way of instilling discipline and leadership which is encouraged by some schools even to this day.
According to character.com 160,000 children skip school every day because of the fear of being attacked or intimidated by other students. The severity of kids being bullied at school by other kids cannot be overemphasized, as repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and can erode a child’s self-esteem and mental well-being. Regardless, the nature of the bullying, whether verbal or physical, is harmful in the long term.
So whether your child is in a day or boarding school, here are some signals that indicate that he/she is being bullied by another student.
1. Unexplainable Injuries
Your child comes back home with a bandage on his head, and when you ask him what happened; he refuses to tell you despite your persistence. This is one of the usual occurrences with victims of bullying. Because of the fear of a backlash, most children would refuse to report the abuse to an adult. If you noticed these signs, it is best to sit your child down and get the full details of what he/she is suffering so as to help the child get through it.
Forceful deprivation of personal belongings either by senior student or a teacher, this is prevalent in boarding schools, where senior students take provisions and other items belonging to their juniors as a show of strength and power. And victims who try to resist are often punished or beaten. If your child returns from a day school without his money, gadget or other personal belongings and when you ask him about the missing items and he refuses to explain, this is a clear sign that he has being extorted.
3. Declined interest in school activities and academic performance
Because the bully is in the same school environment as the child, victims of bullying often stay away from school. An estimated 160,000 children skip school everyday day because of the fear of being attacked. Says character.com. When your child’s academic performance starts declining abruptly, also with his desire to go to school, that child is being bullied at school and needs help form the parents.
4. Decreased self-esteem and isolation from social activities
The bullying of a child decreases the child’s self-esteem, making the child to look fearful and also refrain from social interactions. Always keeping to themselves, due to the believe that no one cares or understands. An indicator that your child feels less of he/herself because of the verbal abuse and names he/she is being called at school by the bullies
5. Self-destructive behavior
When your child starts talking about feeling helpless, running away from school and suicide. Hurting one’s self, feeling not good enough and feeling depressed. This is a strong indicator he is bullied in school.
A research conducted in Delta state University Abraka, shows that a good portion of staff and students 72.2% and 72.3% respectively said that bullying can make a student to be fearful looking, and can lead to isolation. Kids often don’t tell adults about being bullied.
What you should do is review the listed signs and discern if your child is being bullied in school either by another student or a teacher. Talk to the child and ask questions, importantly watch the child’s reaction as you ask about their well-being and your concerns. With this you could tell if a child is being bullied at school, and take necessary action to effectively manage the situation and liberate the child from his assailants.