How to spot telltale signs of school bullying
HEALTH authorities are calling on parents to learn how to spot the telltale signs of bullying.
Queensland Health Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch executive director, Associate Professor John Allan, said parents played a key role in helping young people build support systems for themselves, their siblings and peers. This was critical as young people who were being bullied would often first reveal it to a friend.
"However, children and young people often won't ask for help, which is why it's so important for parents to know what to look out for," he said.
Some of the common signs of bullying included unexpected changes in friendship groups, changed sleep patterns and changes in personality such as becoming more anxious, angry, sad or withdrawn.
"You might notice your child is not wanting to go to school or take part in school activities, is missing belongings, has more mood swings and seems to be crying more, becomes upset after using the internet or mobile phone, or seems to have a drop in academic performance," Prof Allan said.
"Although these alone may not necessarily point to bullying, parents should talk to their children if they have any concerns. Listen calmly to what your child wants to say and ask open, empathetic questions to find out more details."
He encouraged parents to ask their children what they want to do about the bullying, what they want their parents to do and to discuss sensible strategies to handle the bullying.
Prof Allan said one of the worst parts of bullying for young people was the feeling that they were going through it alone.
"If your child's feelings of stress, anxiety or sadness get too intense, a counsellor, youth worker or doctor can help," he said.
He encouraged parents to learn more about the warning signs of bullying, cyber-bullying and how to respond, by visiting bullyingnoway.gov.au/ or the Office of the eSafety Commission at esafety.gov.au/.