Sometimes it may not be obvious that your child is being bullied and if they are, they may not be ready to tell you about it. That’s OK. Here are a few things you can look for that may indicate your child is being bullied along with some quick tips based on Natural Strength Parenting™.

Torn or Ripped Clothing

One sign that your child may be experiencing physical bullying is torn or ripped clothing. If your child comes home from school with a tear in their favorite hoodie or ripped jeans be sure to ask what happened. This is a good way to start the conversation and to let them know you care.

NSP™ Tip: Being fully present and engaged in these conversations may help your child feel more comfortable and thus more likely to open up to you.

Damaged Property

If your daughter or son bring any of their personal items home from school damaged, it could be a sign they are being bullied. Broken tablets or laptops, damaged backpacks, ripped folders or paper and shattered or missing cell phones can all indicate something is wrong. Make sure you ask questions, especially if you notice multiple or repeated damage to personal items. You can allow them the opportunity to discuss what is happening and start to move forward by asking a few simple questions. “I notice your backpack is looking a little beat up. I know you love that backpack, is there anything you’d like to discuss before dinner?”

NSP™ Tip: Providing the opportunity to clear something up can encourage your child to discuss the issue and start to move forward.

Unexplained Cuts, Bruises, and Scratches

It is important to be aware of any physical injuries your child comes home with. The occasional skinned knee or elbow is to be expected, but any physical symptoms should be addressed right away. When asking what happened, look for details and make sure to offer reassurance. If your child is being harmed physically it is a very serious manner and may be difficult for them to bring up with you.

NSP™ Tip: If your child is hurt try a quiet, mindful moment with them to calm them down. Even just a few slow, deep breaths can help quiet their mind and have a calming effect.

Changes in Attitude or Behavior

Watch for changes in attitude towards school, sports, or other activities. Difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite or other noticeable changes in their behavior can all be signs that something is wrong. If your child is being bullied and they do not know how to deal with it, it can affect their mood. Be aware of any changes that you notice and take the opportunity to sit down and talk with them. Sometimes just taking time to ask the right questions can make a big difference.

NSP™ Tip: Take a moment to recognize or celebrate a good grade on a test, a strong effort in a game, or a kind act you’ve seen them do recently. Offering affirmation to your daughter or son can help them focus on something positive.