Parents, teachers, and school administrators are finally speaking up about bullying - and taking steps to protect vulnerable kids. But ironically, victims of bullying are often reluctant to speak up about their own encounters with bullies - and that's true whether the bad stuff happens at school, on the bus, or on the Internet. That's why it's so important for parents to watch for signs of bullying, like the ones we've assembled here, with help from kidscape.org and the government website Stop Bullying Now.
Being bullied can lead to nightmares or insomnia. And some kids who are bullied cry themselves to sleep.
That bruise or black eye: is it the result of a playground fall - or a punch or shove from a bully? If your child comes home with unexplained injuries - or torn or missing clothing - be concerned. Ditto if your child seems to be doing something to hurt himself/herself.
It can be hard to hit the books when you're worried about being hit by a school bully. Consider it a red flag if a child's grades begin to fall or he/she seems to lose interest in school work.
Some kids think it's their fault that they are being bullied. They may seem sad, moody, anxious, or even angry. Bullying can cause children to feel helpless - or even talk about suicide.
You pack a lunch (or lunch money) for your child, and he/she still comes home ravenous? Consider the possibility that someone is taking his food, or that he/she is so upset at school that he has no appetite. In fact, any change in eating habits might be evidence of bullying.
A child who is bullied may have trouble making or keeping friends. If your son or daughter suddenly seems to have fewer pals, consider that a red flag.
Does your child complain of feeling sick on school mornings? That might be an attempt to avoid being bullied by staying home. And frequent complains about vague symptoms like headaches or stomachaches can also be red flags for bullying.
Some children react to being bullied by starting to bully other people, including other kids and even their siblings.
If a child keeps "misplacing" books, electronics, clothing, jewelry, or other items, consider the possibility that the items are not being lost but taken by a bully.