Subtle Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied

Subtle Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied

Bullying is aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived threat. Bully behavior is typically repeated and has the potential to escalate over time. Kids who are bullied and who bully may have serious, lasting problems.  It’s important to recognize the signs that your child may be a victim of bullying.

There are three types of bullying – verbal, social, and physical.  Bullying happens most often at school and on the Internet. Unfortunately, most children have been bullied or have taken part in bullying. Behavior on both ends of this spectrum has the ability to cause lifelong damage. Children who are on the receiving end not only suffer academically but often struggle with depression and anxiety well into adulthood.  Being aware of the signs can help adults empower children to respond effectively and appropriately.

 Signs of a Problem

A Change of Friends
If your child begins spending less time with friends or you notice that their friends have changed, they may be being bullied at school. When a child is bullied, other children tend to separate themselves from them as a form of self-preservation. They don’t want to be bullied either so they disassociate from the situation and from the person being bullied.

Emotional Changes
Children who are bullied may become anxious, angry, or easily upset. It’s difficult to deal with the stress and isolation that bullying causes and it can be overwhelming.

Illness
As bullying progresses, a child may try to avoid the situation in which they are being bullied. They may pretend to be sick to avoid going to school. Additionally, chronic stress impacts the immune system. Your child may experience actual headaches and stomachaches as a result of bullying. If your child seems to be ill more often than usual, it’s time to start asking questions.

Related: How to Talk to Your Child About Bullying

How to Open the Lines of Communication and Talk About Bullying

The best time to start talking about bullying is during the elementary school years. It’s important for your children to know that they can talk to you about anything. Children often keep the fact that they’re being bullied to themselves because they feel like they should be able to handle the problem on their own. Additionally, many children simply don’t trust adults to handle the situation appropriately.

If you think your child may be dealing with this kind of aggression, begin by doing research. Ask questions about who they eat with, who they sit with on the bus, and who they like and don’t like at school.  How much time are they spending on the Internet? Take note of changes in behavior after your child spends time on the computer. Talk to your child’s teacher to learn more about who they hang out with at school. It’s also okay to be direct with your child. Ask them if there are children who are giving them a hard time, isolating them from activities, calling them names, or taking their belongings.

While you may not be able to solve all of your child’s problems, bullying is one problem that needs to be addressed.  Your child needs an advocate who will supply them with the healthy tools to deal with this type of aggressive behavior.

  • Terrie1963

    Excellent paper! I agree 100%. What you wrote was exactly my experience. I was abused by an older sister, physically and emotionally. My parents worked and I was at her mercy. I was always told that everyone hated me, that I was evil and should never have been born..etc. I still live with that. I went into a shell as a child. Refused to go to school, because I knew everyone hated me. My sister told me so. To this day I am agoraphobic. My social anxiety is too great. I avoid conflict at all cost. I only go to the doctor, library, and to school functions for my kids. Otherwise, I never leave the house. My father was Director of Special Education for the State where I lived. My step mother was an abusive child psychologist. You would think that they would have helped me. The cobbler’s daughter never has shoes, I suppose.

    I never, ever, ever fail to tell my children how much they’re loved, how smart they are, and that there is no ceiling to what they can accomplish. I stopped going to school in grade school. I am self educated. Because I am self educated and read constantly, I have become obsessive about my childrens’ reading. If you can read, you can learn anything – do anything. My boy is so much like me, very introverted, and has ADHD. I have had concerns that he’s bullied at school. I ask him but he says he loves school and it’s all good. My girl is the exact opposite. She is the popular girl and I think that frightens me even more sometimes. Why can there never be some kind of balance?

    I just wanted to add that the bullying and abuse doesn’t necessarily have to originate at the school to see them withdraw. Anytime a child closes up like that and refuses to go to school, or socialize; you can’t just assume the problem is AT school. Sometimes the problem is at home. The problem of bullying and abuse on the psyche of a developing child stays with that person forever. It’s not something I dwell on, but the pure panic of leaving home, fear of conflict, and rejection tells me that it is still with me and always will be.

  • Terrie1963

    Oh! One more intersting thing to add: My boy and I are both very introverted. We are also empaths. We feel other people’s pain, and sorrow deeply. I wonder sometimes if that is part of it all. We withdraw because to see others hurting effects us deeply. It becomes overwhelming sometimes. We won’t fight for ourselves, but we will protect eveybody else. We are overwhelmingly empathetic. My earliest memory is running from the room crying over Lassie and refusing to ever watch it again. I always knew empathy was a problem for me, but only recently did I find out that there is a name for it.

    http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html

  • Terrie1963

    One last thing, in the link below it talks of getting vibes off others who owned things, having special abilities. Now, that isn’t us. Most of what they say is true for us, however. I think it’s just the opposite of being a psychopath who has no ability to have empathy for people or animals. Some of it is nonsense, but the basis of it is true for us. I’d go so far as to say that all but the addiction, psychic or paranormal, and love of travel is true for us.