Know the signs of bullying
MANY schools actively have anti-bullying practices in place, however bullying can still occur.
How can you tell if your child is being bullied at their school?
An American study conducted in 2012 found that 160,000 children in the US skip school every day because they feared being attacked or intimidated by other students.
This report also revealed bullying was starting at younger ages and was more frequent and aggressive than in previous years.
And the cruel behaviour increases with age.
Also troubling is that children won't always tell you when they have been bullied.
Repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and can erode a child's self-esteem and mental health.
Whether bullying is verbal, physical or relational, the long-term effects are equally harmful.
Both boys and girls in the study reported high levels of emotional distress and loneliness as well as lower self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety and depression.
Bullying is always intentional, mean-spirited, rarely happens only once and there is always a power imbalance.
Your child may not feel comfortable telling you about it but, if you know the signs, your child is being bullied and tune in closer, you might be able to start bullying prevention in your home.
Every child is different and any child can have an "off" day so look instead to a pattern of behaviour that is not typical for your child.
Things like unexplained physical marks, cuts, bruises and scrapes, loss of toys, school supplies, clothing, lunches or money, not wanting to go to school, suddenly being clingy or being sullen and withdrawn are all signs your child may be getting bullied at school.
Other indicators can include a marked change in behaviour, hypochondria, nightmares, bed wetting, changes in appetite and a significant drop in their school performance.
Kids often don't tell adults they're being bullied so you may have to voice your concerns. Review the signs of bullying and then ask direct questions.
Watch your child's reactions to your questions.
Often what a child doesn't say may be more telling.
Tune into your child's body language.
Silence is often powerful.
If you suspect bullying and your child won't talk to you, arrange a conference with a trusted adult who knows your child.
If your child has more than one teacher, you may need to meet with each educator or coach.
Keep in mind that bullying usually does not happen in all school settings and in all classrooms.
The trick is to figure out if your child is bullied and then where and when it is happening so you can get the right help for your child.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on your child.
Children who are embarrassed or humiliated about being bullied are unlikely to discuss it with their parents or teachers and generally suffer in silence, are withdrawn and try to stay away from school.
Stress to your child you are always available, are concerned and recognise bullying may be a problem.
Emphasise that you believe your child and you are there to help.
With greater vigilance, we can all help to stamp out bullying in the school environment.