Parents are often blissfully unaware that anything is amiss in their grade-schoolers' lives. Victims of bullying often feel frightened, powerless or ashamed by the attacks -- whether physical, verbal or relational -- so they're not eager to discuss them with people. Other times, it might be hard to distinguish between simple bouts of teasing and serious bullying, especially in cases of relational bullying, where hurtful social interactions include spreading rumors, excluding members of a friend group, or sharing secrets told in confidence. In all types of bullying, kids can choose to discuss it with their parents or keep it to themselves.
There are lots of signs you should be alert for, however, such as truancy, changes in appetite, extra requests for money, torn clothing and falling grades. Also look out for increased stress and subsequent health issues, uncharacteristic despondency, decreased physical and social activity, and increased apprehension and moodiness. If symptoms like these seem frequent, sit your kids down to discuss what's causing the upheaval.
It's important to monitor your grade-schoolers' online habits to help prevent cyberbullying. Make sure they're well-informed when it comes to proper online etiquette and preferred privacy practices. Kids should never have computers in their rooms, and you should always have the ability to check up on their activities.