Bullied kids experience anxiety and depression, which can lead to mental health issues that can be carried well into their adulthood, as well as suffer from the consequences of low academic performance. To prevent long-term emotional and physical damage to your child, the key is to recognize the signs of child bullying as early as possible.
1. Their body says it
Your child has cuts, scratches, and bruises, the source of which he may refuse to disclose. He may even conceal these physical manifestations, so you have to pay close attention.
2. Their clothes are stained or torn
Some of his belongings are dirtied or missing. These bullying signs are hard to miss. The important thing is to have the child open up to you, after which you can take the necessary step like talk to school authorities in order to protect him from being bullied further.
When he arrives home, he seems moody and depressed. Again, this needs your careful probing. Encourage your kid to open up and tell you what’s been going on.
4. Sudden clinginess
Sudden clinginess can also be a sign that your kid is being bullied. If he suddenly does not want to ride the school bus but wants to have you take him to school instead, for example, you might want to look into it.
5. Health issues
Your child offers up a variety of physical health complaints ranging from headaches to stomachaches. This can be an attempt to skip class, for instance, and avoid whoever has been bullying him.
Headaches can result from his distress-fueled inability to sleep, while stomachaches can point to an eating disorder or a drastic change in eating habits due to anxiety or depression.
6. Behavioral changes
Your kid’s abrupt displays of behavioral changes can indicate bullying. When your child is normally a lively sort at home and then suddenly becomes reserved, then it is time to investigate.
7. Bad grades
His grades and academic performance have suddenly declined. Something unpleasant may be going on that’s making it difficult for him to focus in school.
8. Social isolation
When your child used to have a lot of friends but now he has very few, it will not hurt to ask him nicely why that is the case. Another telltale sign is avoidance of the kids in his usual group. It is possible that he is a target of schoolyard-clique bullying.
If your child has younger siblings and he suddenly bullies the young ones in the household, then that may be indicative of bullying. In an attempt to somehow compensate for their feelings of helplessness, children who are bullied can sometimes become bullies themselves.
10. Self-harming behaviors and suicidal ideations are particularly harrowing
When the bullying has been going on for a while, the tendency is for your child to become more and more withdrawn. With decreased self-esteem and gnawing feelings of vulnerability, he may run away from home, resort to self mutilation, and endanger his life.
Bullying can take different forms. Just because you don’t see any cuts or bruises does not mean he has not been verbally abused by his peers. Do not let your kid suffer in silence. Most importantly, read between the lines, because some kids are afraid of retaliation and may cover up the fact that they were bullied.
When you notice these signs indicating that your child has, indeed, been bullied, then talk to him without sounding confrontational. If your kid has been bullied in school, for example, discuss it with the school’s staff to help put a stop it.