Pay attention to these signs of bullying
These warning signs may mean your child is being bullied.
Children are often reluctant to admit they're being bullied, so parents and teachers need to watch for warning signs of a bullying problem. Recognizing the signs of bullying is an important first step in taking action.
Bruises and unexplained injuries can clearly point to bullying. However, bullying often takes the form of verbal abuse, not physical abuse, and may include continual threats, circulating rumors or harrasing communication through social media and texts. When this occurs, the warning signs can be much less obvious.
Common signs of bullying include:
- A change in eating habits, such as coming home from school unusually hungry because of skipping lunch
- Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep due to general anxiousness or nightmares
- A sudden loss of friends or unwillingness to get involved in social activities with peers
- A loss of interest in school, worsening grades or reluctance to go to school or ride the bus
- Unusual moodiness, such as becoming upset more easily or threatening to run away from home
- Frequent complaints about headaches, stomachaches or other non-specific ailments
- Lost or destroyed clothes, electronics and personal items
- Talk about suicide
Not all children who are being bullied exhibit warning signs, so if you suspect your child may be a victim of bullying, follow your instincts. It's a good idea to talk about bullying, whether or not your child is affected. Try to get your child to open up by recalling a situation when you felt intimidated by someone in a position of power or bring up the subject when it comes up in a book or TV show.
If you suspect a problem, do not hesitate to talk to school officials or to seek other professional help. Unchecked bullying can cause lasting problems, from depression and anxiety to violent behavior.