10 Signs Your Child Is Getting Bullied & 10 Things You Can Do About It

10 Signs Your Child Is Getting Bullied & 10 Things You Can Do About It

There’s nothing we envision for our children more than a life filled with laughter, new experiences, and love. But an unfortunate reality for many children is bullying—whether it be verbal or physical, bullying takes place in many forms and can have long-lasting effects. Here are 10 signs your child may be getting bullied and 10 ways you can help them through it.

1. Unexplained Injuries

Children inadvertently hurt themselves all the time. However, if yours come home with unexplained injuries, it could be a sign that something more sinister is afoot. Additionally, if you spot ripped clothing or missing belongings, it's time to talk.

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2. Behavioral Changes

Sudden behavioral changes are often a good indicator of problems at school. Children who stop eating, start wetting the bed, or become progressively distant may be dealing with bullies. 

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3. Fear of School

Wanting to skip the odd day at school is  normal. But if your child seems afraid to go, it’s a red flag to monitor. Clingy behavior, tantrums, and crying are a few warning signs to keep an eye on. 

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4. More Excuses

In an attempt to hide what’s going on, your child may not exhibit telltale signs of fear. But if you notice that they constantly complain of illness without any symptoms—particularly headaches or stomachaches—they could be trying to avoid trouble at school.



5. Trouble Sleeping

While we all toss and turn before a stressful event, bullied children worry every night about what may happen at school the next day. Loss of sleep or frequent nightmares are often glaring signs your child has something on their mind.

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6. Growing Distant

Children who beeline for their rooms after school, or grow distant from their family and friends, may be suffering at school. If you see major changes in their personality, it could be a good indicator you need to speak with them. 

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7. Avoiding the Bus

Bus stops, and even the bus ride, can be a hotspot for bullies. Teachers aren’t present and the ride to and from school can be a long one. If your child seems nervous about riding the bus, it’s often a red flag to keep on the radar.

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8. Schoolwork Suffers

Bullying weighs heavily on a child’s mind and can impact their ability to concentrate on schoolwork. A noticeable decline in grades may be a signal something is wrong.

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9. Lost Friendships 

The sad fact is that bullying’s ripple effect impacts existing relationships. If your child stops spending time with their friends or their social circle gets smaller, something could be going on.

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10. No Discussion of School

Bullied children are often too ashamed or afraid to discuss what's going on. If your children deflect conversations about their day, they could be trying to hide instances of mistreatment—or want to avoid the subject altogether.

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If your child has confided in you about their experiences, here are some ways you can help them.


1. Listen Intently

It’s hard for children to speak up about bullying, so your first job is to listen. Don’t dismiss their experience as that will only belittle them and encourage them not to come to you in the future. Ask them to explain what happened and reassure them that you’re there to help.

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2. Build Confidence

Assure your child that the bullying is not their fault. It’s also a good time to remind them that they aren’t what their bullies say. Emphasize your child’s positive qualities to help them feel loved and gain confidence. 

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3. Document Everything

Keep a log of when your child is being bullied, where, and how. Document everything with as much detail as possible to ensure you have evidence should things escalate. 

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4. Remain Calm

Your knee-jerk response might be to storm over to the school and demand a meeting with faculty—but this could easily make things worse for you and your child. Try to keep emotions out of it so school staff and faculty can work with you, not against you.

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5. Learn Anti-Bullying Policies

Familiarize yourself with the school’s anti-bullying policies to learn how violations are handled. Their policies should also outline which staff members you can speak with.

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6. Schedule a Meeting

Meet with the bully’s parents and appropriate staff during school hours. Remember: it can be tempting to demand that a bully be suspended or expelled, but these suggestions oftentimes lead to defensive responses. Bring documented evidence and try to keep emotions out of it as you work to address a solution per school policies. 

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7. Stay Vigilant

In a perfect world, a meeting would immediately address all concerns, and the situation could become an ugly thing of the past. But that isn’t always the case. Ask your child for updates and stay on top of the school if they haven’t taken any steps to fix the problem.

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8. Keep Your Child in the Loop

Make an active effort to keep your children involved in next steps. Tell them what you’ve done so far, ask them what they would like to see done, and keep the lines of communication open.

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9. Don’t Forget the District

If you’re unhappy with how a teacher or principal handles the situation, bring your case to the school district. Don’t take inaction lying down—keep a paper trail of who you’ve spoken with and their responses as you move up the chain of command. 

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10. Go Further if Needed

When bullying is criminal, you’re within your rights to contact the police. Bring all evidence to the police so they can open a case, and stay on top of their action plan. You can also look into contacting a lawyer if need be.

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