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It’s hard to know sometimes if your child is being bullied. Some obvious signs are ripped clothes, being hungry when you’ve sent lunch, etc. However, behavioral changes are also a sign that something is not right. If you see a drop in school performance, they can’t concentrate or do not want to go to school, it’s time to talk and listen to your child.

tired boy laying his head down in school

My daughter has autism. Bullying started early for her; it started when she was only four! As she was verbal, but could not communicate well (yet), it was hard for her to tell us and honestly, she didn’t realize what was going on. In first grade she finally felt something was not right and told an adult at school. Throughout that year it was so hard for her. She had many more problems with kids. As a momma bear, your first instinct is to go in and take care of the situation at any cost. If the bullying is happening at school, I talk to my child’s teacher immediately. I also let the principal know. As a parent, I also want to talk to the bully and their parents, though sometimes this is not possible.

My daughter was the one who helped me realize what she needed in order to deal with bullies. In first grade she asked me why she was always bullied, even by some of the “nice” kids. There really wasn’t any explanation I could come up with. During one conversation, we put ourselves in the bullies’ shoes. We both tried to discuss things that might be happening in their life to make them so miserable that they bully her and others. This helped her (and me) more than I expected. We tried to show some empathy towards what they might be going through, though this is really tough to do. Through the years we’ve found out many had rough home lives and acted out their frustrations. Several of the bullies became friends with my daughter and have been able to watch out for other children. My daughter and I talked through several scenarios and what to do and now she feels equipped to handle many situations without fear.

bullied sad girl

>> Read more: 3 Major Health Concerns in Kids and How You Can Help

As a parent, nothing rips your heart apart more than knowing your child is being bullied. Let your child talk to you about the situation and remain calm. Knowing that your child knows what to do if they are bullied brings some relief. Reinforcing the wonderful qualities of your child and what makes them incredible helps build self-esteem. Always make a point to compliment them on positive things they do; they are who they are. Having a good support system with a child’s teacher and school is a must.

My top tips for coping with your child are:

  • Be an active advocate for your child.
  • Listen to your child.
  • Look for a support group of parents, either online or near your home.
  • Stay active in your child’s school and work with their teachers, counselors and administration.

>> Read more: Keeping Your Child Safe on the Internet