A Mother’s Guide To Helping Her Abused Child

No matter how much a mom does to prepare her children, she has no control over every encounter her child will face. Here’s a detailed guide for a mom in need of helping her abused child.

by Troop Atomic Mommy

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When you see your child being bullied by their peers, it can be difficult to know what to do. You
may have a million thoughts and questions running through your mind: How do I intervene?
what should I say? How should I approach school? To address issues like these, here’s a quick
guide to the signs and effects of bullying and what moms can do to help.

Recognize the Signs of Bullying

Bullying usually looks different in each case, and when there are no visible signs or a child has
reported a problem, it may not always be obvious that something is wrong. However, there are
certain signs that a mother can look out for as her children continue their education.
Common signs a mother may notice in her child being bullied are:

• Mood swings/irritability
• Getting upset easily
• Appears anxious or depressed
• Sleep disturbance
• Social withdrawal
• Eating or overeating
• Stomach ache
• Random scratches or bruising
• Grades dropping
• Avoiding certain situations and places (for example, the school bathroom or bus stops)

These signals are not only related to bullying but can indicate that something else is wrong. To
understand what is behind this change, it is important to open the lines of communication. This
includes asking sometimes difficult questions. One way to bring up the subject is to use a
bullying situation from a TV show to ask your child what they think they would do in that
situation and what emotions come up when you talk about it.

The Short Term and Long-Term Effects of Bullying

Bullying can take many forms, including physical attacks, verbal attacks, bullying through social
exclusion, spreading rumors and others. Just as every case of bullying is different, so are the
effects on an individual. Short-term effects such as the above can occur, such as difficulty
sleeping, social isolation, and mental health problems.
In severe cases, it can leave deep emotional scars and even serious injuries with long-term
consequences. These can include chronic depression, anxiety disorders, relationship problems
in adulthood, and even difficulty finding work, as formative social skills and academic
performance can be impaired by victimization.

Another lifelong effect is the possible traces of online abuse. Due to easy access to victims and
a wider audience, perpetrators often turn to social media as a form of bullying. They may also
send text messages, emails, and other messages outside of school hours that are meant to be
rude and aggressive. Known as cyberbullying, this form can be very damaging to a child’s
mental development, and the evidence of this can live forever online.

What Can You Do to Help

A good place to start is to take precautions before the bullying even begins. While it’s not up to
children to prevent their own abuse, there are ways to prepare for that possibility. One way is
to have a plan for dealing with it and ways to prevent it from escalating. This plan might include
a list of responses to someone behaving aggressively that are direct but not antagonistic. The
key to these phrases is that they are not insulting, as such statements can make the perpetrator
even angrier.

Part of the preparation for this is through role playing. By acting out what-if scenarios and
practicing different reactions in a firm, strong voice, children can feel empowered and more
confident in dealing with problematic situations. As you discuss this topic, don’t forget to
encourage children to be open about what they see at school, whether they are being bullied or
someone else. Showing that you care about the issue can make your child feel more
comfortable sharing. This is also a good time to encourage positive body language and other
self-esteem practices.

Finally, parents need to be informed – not only about what is going on in their child’s life, but
also about existing anti-bullying programs and policies. They can be in school, in the
community, or in state law. Legal authorities may need to be involved if you have serious
concerns about your child’s safety.

Proactive Steps For Moving Forward

No matter how much a mom does to prepare her children, she has no control over every
encounter. If bullying is a problem in your child’s life, it’s important to understand it, listen with
empathy, and report the problem to the school. With these strategies, your child doesn’t have
to go through the bullying alone.

For more information on helping a child who is being bullied, see the following resource by Kids
Car Donations

This infographic was created by Kids Car Donations, non profit car donations benefiting kids

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