Signs Of Bullying

Look For The Signs And Help Stop Bullying

Kids who are being bullied aren't likely to tell you about it. You've got to look for the signs.

Recognizing the warning signs is a crucial first step in taking action against bullying. And if you see these signs, which can also point to other issues (including depression or substance abuse), it's essential that you follow up by talking to the kids exhibiting them.

Signs A Child Is Being Bullied

Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all kids who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to bullying are: 

• Unexplainable injuries

• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry

• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness

• Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.

• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares

• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school

• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem

• Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.

Signs a Child is Bullying Others

Kids may be bullying others if they:   

• Get into physical or verbal fights

• Have friends who bully others

• Are increasingly aggressive

• Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently

• Have unexplained extra money or new belongings

• Blame others for their problems

• Don’t accept responsibility for their actions

• Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

stopbullyinggov website Opens in new windowInformation from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Why Don't Kids Ask For Help?

The odds a kid being bullied will tell an adult about the pain he or she is enduring are a less than 50-50. 

According to statistics, for every 10 incidents of bullying, only about four are reported to an adult.

Kids don’t tell adults about bullying for many reasons:

• Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.

• Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.

• Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.

•  Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.

• Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.