Bullying is much more common than the majority of parents and teachers choose to believe. In fact, it is thought that as many as one of five children is harassed on a regular basis. While these figures are stark in and of themselves, another even more serious issue is that a child will not often report these instances due to feelings such as fear and embarrassment.
This is why it is crucial to recognise some early warning signs so that the appropriate actions can be taken. After all, identifying issues at an early stage is always the best way to avoid more serious problems later in adolescence.
Sudden and Unexplained Mood Changes
As noted in this article, one common sign of bullying in young children involves changes in their mood. What was once a happy-go-lucky child may suddenly become withdrawn and distant; even towards teachers and parents. This could very well indicate that he or she is being intimidated by classmates.
A Reluctance to go to School
It only stands to reason that a child will look to avoid situations that could result in bullying. This behaviour may manifest itself in an unwillingness to go to school. Children could likewise fake an illness on occasion in the hopes that they will be provided with a temporary reprieve. If you happen to note such a pattern, it is wise to determine whether or not bullying is the culprit.
A Poor Attitude or Sudden Drops in Performance
Bullied children will often find it difficult to perform well in their classes. Even those ten years of age or younger could refuse to participate in activities with their peers. Their grades may likewise begin to suffer for no apparent reason. This is why real-time EYFS tracking software is so important, as these packages will provide adults with the insight required to determine whether or not a child requires special attention. To learn more about a professional EYFS assessment click here.
While some children will become shy and withdrawn, others can exhibit the exact opposite stance. Intense and disproportionate emotional responses such as aggressive outbursts may hint that an underlying problem is present. This arises from the fact that some children choose to “mask” their inherent fear with a veneer of anger in the hopes that it will prevent future instances of bullying. In fact, it is not entirely unrealistic to observe that many bullies themselves have developed such a mindset as a subconscious coping mechanism.
Note that while these are the most common symptoms of bullying in young children, other scenarios can sometimes present themselves. Examples include an inability to socialise, a child who always seems to adopt a defensive stance, difficulty sleeping and in severe cases, physical marks.
Parents and teachers therefore need to be cognisant of the warning signs so that preventative measures can be taken. As children will not always be able to express their true feelings, it is our responsibility to keep one step ahead of the curve.