If you think or know your child is being bullied, get help immediately. Talk with your school’s administration, and get more information online at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s site Stop Bullying Now! and at the National Crime Prevention Council.
But remember, most kids don’t tell their parents that they’re being bullied. They may be afraid, or they may be embarrassed. So how do you know? Look for the signs below.
1. Your child comes home from school with torn clothing or damaged books.
2. Your child has bruises, cuts, and scratches, but can’t explain how she got them (or comes up with excuses that aren’t believable).
3. Your child seems afraid to go to school in the morning. He might say he has headaches or stomach pains.
4. You notice your child starts taking a new route to and from school.
5. Your child has bad dreams or cries in her sleep.
6. Your child loses interest in school work; his grades suddenly start to go down.
7. Your child doesn’t act like herself: she seems sad, depressed, withdrawn, or gets easily angry.
8. Your child asks you for money to meet the bully’s demands, or he might even steal money from you or others in the family.
9. Your child seems lonely and isolated socially. She has few—if any—real friends. She’s rarely invited to parties or to the homes of other kids. (Her fear of rejection may lead her to stay away from others.)