What are the warning signs that children are being bullied?


Often times parents and teachers might be totally unaware that a child is being bullied. Let’s face it, most teachers have lots of kids to “teach” and sometimes they have their blinders on when it comes to negative extra-curricular activities–BULLYING! With that said, parents should be discussing issues that are related to matters of the heart with their kids regularly to make sure that things are going well in school.

There are several things parents and teachers should look for should they suspect a child is being bullied. Here is a running list of some of the more prevalent tangible signs to look for:

1) Unexplained bruises, scrapes or torn clothing. The child was not playing a game where damage occurred. Rather they have no way of explaining to their parent how it happened. They are too ashamed, embarrassed and frightened to tell what really happened.

2) Continual nightmares! Children who are repeatedly bullied are most likely to have nightmares about the bullying incidents. If they endure long term suffering, they are likely to begin having flashbacks much like victims suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

3) Headaches and stomach aches. Victims of bullying are likely to complain of stomach aches and headaches as a form of psychosomatic symptoms from the bullying. Most are unable to tell what is really happening or vent so it becomes internalized and manifests itself in the form of physical ailments.

4) Overtired and unable to sleep. Many kids worry about sleeping because they will have nightmares about the bully. They toss and turn all night and rarely are able to fall asleep easily.

5) Being evasive and isolating themselves from others. If the bullying goes on continually, the child is likely to become very embarrassed and also likely to develop low self-esteem and withdraw from everyone. They remove themselves to try and cover their fear and shame.

6) Temper outbursts and uncharacteristic behavior. Because they are internalizing most of their feelings, the shame and hurt is likely to become frustration, stress and rage. Children will start to look for safe targets with which to displace their anger.

7) Increased absence from school. Children are likely to be “sick” and try to avoid going to school to avoid the bully.

8) More time spent in their bedrooms. Like isolation, children believe the safest place of refuge is their bedroom. They go there for cover and hope their worries will go away. In some instances, the bullying may actually be happening in their bedroom via the Internet!

9) Frequently losing their clothing, lunch and their toys. Once again, those bullied are also likely to have their possessions stolen from them from the bully. When asked by their parents where
their things are, they usually do not have a straight answer to give their parents because they are so embarrassed.

10) They develop an intense fear of school. Suddenly, the child wants the parent to drive them to and from school. They want the parent to drop them off at the school right before the bell rings and be there to pick them up immediately when the school bell rings at the end of the day.

If your kids are displaying any or many of these symptoms, they may be living in a private hell that they feel trapped in, with no hope! Pay attention to sudden and even simple changes in your child’s life. They may be a victim of bullying.