How to tell if your teen is being bullied
There are several signs to watch for if you fear your child is being bullied. Bullies can start as early as kindergarten these days, so never assume your child is too young (or too old) to encounter a bully.
Your child may be a victim of bullying if:
- She regularly tries to avoid school
- She does not want to ride the school bus anymore
- She’s often starving (her lunch money may have been stolen)
- She’s abnormally fearful
- She complains of frequent headaches and stomach aches especially when it’s time to go to school
- She comes home with torn clothing, scratches, or bruises
- She no longer wants to eat like she used to or is not interested in her favorite foods
- She wants to suddenly quit an activity that she always loved
- She is suddenly doing poorly in school
- She is angry all the time or depressed frequently
Signs that your child is being bullied
All these can be signs that your child is being bullied. Often a bully will try to control their victim by making them afraid of telling anyone. It’s not uncommon for a bully to threaten a child that if he tells his parents, he’ll get worse next time.
Verbal bully can be worse
Depending on your child’s age, a verbal bully can be worse than a bully who hits or punches. Young children will often internalize any negative things that are said to them or about them and believe them to be true. Verbal abuse is hard to spot, but can be very damaging.
Most schools now have anti-bullying policies in their handbooks. So you are wise to report any suspicions you may have. Schools are required to investigate any reports and must share information on confirmed cases of bullying. And since most bullying happens on the playground or at school, you’re wise to get the principal involved.
If your child confirms he has been bullied and has physically been harmed, contact the police. No matter what age your child is, he has the right to be protected and safe.