How To Know If Your Child Has Problems With Classmates, And How To Prevent It

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As parents, we want what’s best for our children, so we do whatever we can to keep them safe, happy, and shielded from any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, children can’t be protected at all times. It is particularly heartbreaking when your child goes through a tough time at school, thanks to bullies or insensitive peers. A school is an important place that is monumental during childhood and impressionable enough to shape a child to be a responsible adult. So, when school stops being a safe space for your child, it can take a significant toll on their physical and mental health, as well as their academic performance.

The first way to address this issue is by knowing if your child is suffering in any way. Children might not outright speak to their parents about such issues at school and would only give subtle hints and change in behaviors. Watch out for signs so you can tell if your child is being bullied. It is also essential to take measures to prevent your child from having trouble with classmates. We’re about to tell you how to do both, so keep reading:

1. Watch Out For Damaged Belongings

Watch Out For Damaged Belongings

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According to a survey conducted on bullying, close to twenty-nine percent of bullying victims are physically hurt (1). Keep a tab on your child’s belongings to check if they are damaged or broken. This could indicate that your child is being bullied or someone took their belongings or tried to destroy them in class.

2. A Shift In Attitude

A Shift In Attitude

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Bullying, peer pressure, and trouble with classmates can have an impact on your child’s mental health (2). If your child is being troubled at school, the chances are that they will begin to exhibit their frustrations through their behavior. It is common to witness changes in attitude in children who are being bullied. If your child is being oppressed by their peers, they may wonder why they too can’t misbehave — and since they can’t push back at school, they might choose to act out at home instead. This is their attempt to feel in control, so try to understand where they are coming from.

3. They May Refrain From Familial Interaction

They May Refrain From Familial Interaction

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A study has shown that close to nineteen percent of children who have trouble with their classmates in school tend to have strained relationships with their parents or family members at home (3). Due to this, they may choose to remain uninvolved or withdrawn from familial interactions and stay in their rooms or keep to themselves instead. If your child never had a problem with you or any other family member previously but suddenly refrains from interactions, the chances are that your little one has some sort of trouble in school.

4. Asking For Extra Food Or Money

Asking For Extra Food Or Money

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Bullying or aggressive behavior isn’t limited to physically or emotionally hurting someone; it could also mean that the bullies demand more from your child. It could be a demand for their lunchbox, their books, or even money. If your child has constantly been asking for extra food or cash with no basis whatsoever, you might have to look into why they need it. Your child is probably intimidated by their classmates, and to appease their bullies, they sometimes may give in through such means.

5. Avoiding Their Friends

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If your child no longer enjoys the company of their friends but chooses to stay at home instead, find out their reasons for doing so. Some children prefer spending time by themselves and at home, but if you think something is wrong, then make efforts to look into it. It could be that they are ashamed of meeting their friends — episodes of bullying can do that to a person. Or, it could be that they are so traumatized by what happened that the prospect of meeting their friends scares them (4).

6. They Struggle With The Lack Of Sleep

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Research has proven that children at the edge about their social circumstances in school tend to suffer from lack of sleep or even nightmares. Try to keep a tab on your child’s sleeping habits; if they aren’t getting enough sleep, it could indicate that they have trouble at school. Other similar signs to watch out for are nightmares, extreme tiredness during the day, loss of appetite, and even bed wetting (5).

7. Poor Academic Performance And Low Self-Esteem

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If your child is being emotionally and physically tortured or bullied, it can take a toll on their self-worth. In most cases, they are at the receiving end of aggressive behavior for no fault of theirs. The real problem is with the bullies, but your child won’t see that; they’ll only see their own weakness. This can hurt their studies and overall academic performance. All that bullying plus a dull marks card can turn their self-esteem into a downward spiral (3).

How To Prevent Your Child From Being Harassed

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It is essential to help your child stand their ground when being bullied or harassed. Here’s how you can prevent it from happening again:

  • Standing Up For Themselves: Let them know that what their classmates or the bullies are doing is completely wrong and unacceptable. And tell them that since it is bad, your child has all the right to stand up for themselves.
  • Keep The Channels Of Communication Open: You must constantly talk to your child so you know if they need your help or intervention.
  • Be A Role Model: Show them how to be kind and respectful to others. This way, they will know that not everyone is the wrong person. When they see you being a good, responsible, and compassionate person, they’ll soon understand that bad behavior (such as bullying) is unacceptable and wrong.
  • Sign Them Up For Extracurriculars: Let your child spend their time honing their skills or participating in fun activities. This way, they won’t dwell on their frustrations all the time; instead, they will have fun learning new things.
  • Involve The Authorities: It is always good to keep the teachers or school authorities notified.

Childhood is a time for fun, laughter, and learning — it doesn’t have to be a time for sadness, pain, and trauma. Unfortunately, mixing with other children can often lead to friction among them leading to bullying and other issues. Be there for your child without being too overwhelming, and reach out for medical assistance if your child is overly traumatized. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. While bullying is a perennial problem in school it is one that students are reticent to talk about openly.
  2. Does bullying cause emotional problems? A prospective study of young teenagers
  3. Student Reports of Bullying: Results From the 2017 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey
  4. Fearful and Distracted in School: Predicting Bullying among Youths
  5. Bullying as a Risk for Poor Sleep Quality among High School Students in China
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