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HomeHealth & BehaviorBullying

Is your child being bullied?

Nine signs your child is being bullied.

GreatSchools Blog

By GreatSchools Staff

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 Your child doesn't act like herself: she seems sad, depressed, withdrawn, or gets easily angry.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.)

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/9/2012:
"people were being mean to her in school like calling her a dummy,cry baby.and she is only 8 years old.i need help to stop this.and they also picked herup and slun her around the reading table when she was just trying to open her locker "
05/4/2012:
"This sounds like me. "
03/6/2012:
"i lik this website =) "
02/6/2012:
"i like this article so much i think it is important to not bullied or t be a bully please do not be a bully because this is bad to bully also never keep bulling a secret whether it is about you or friend. never be a bully "
01/19/2012:
"hopefully this is not my children..... "
10/19/2011:
"At my son's twisted school two boys bully him. One has been in the Peer-mediation Group for a year and still calls my son a Fxxxing Loser. The other boy is on the Safety Patrol helping the kids get to and from the buses safely. Amazing. "
10/10/2011:
"I have an 8 year old daughter in 3rd grade. I cannot believe how mean girls can be at such a young age. My daughter thought this one girl in particular was her frined, we saw her a little over summer break and they e-mailed each other when she was away. Once school started the girl was mean to her in school only. She tells my daughter she should cut her hair. She has gorgeous long hair to her waist. Everytime they are on the playground the other girl says no everytime my daughter wants to walk with her, and makes up all kinds of excuses and makes her feel left out and bad. I told the teacher and she addressed the situation so this girl is sneaky about rejecting my daughter. I have caught her and so has the teacher on other occassions. This girl has her own little group going and everytime my daughter wants to hang out the other girls say they have to ask this girls permission. Its funny she complains to her mom about the two girls she hangs out with and her mom thin! ks she is being bullied by them when the truth is she is the leader of "the mean girls". My daughter tried to make friends with a new girl that just started and this girl swooped in and pulled her away. She puts on a sweet act in front of me and her mom. I kid you not bats her eyes and everything. My daughter and her even take a dance class together and acts like everything is fine. I do not want to hang out with them and want to cut all ties. I don't like the mixed messages she is sending my daughter. They are in a gifted class together and will be for the next 2 years. Should I say something to the mom since I know her? I am really sick of it. I was Bullied when I was younger for having curly hair and wearing glasses. My daughter is slim with long blonde hair and is bothered because they are jealous. You can't win. "
10/3/2011:
"when I was young I was bullied a lot I was skinny very tiny for my age but I had long straight hair which the african american girls constantly pulled sometimes so hard I would fall to the floor.In my time there was no help so the abuse only ended when by the grace of GOD my father took me to Puerto Rico to live. . Now raising my kids and dealing with bulliyng was never easy until now .My 12 year old started to be bullied bc of economic problems we had to move in an area where there is a lot of kids that go to school to abuse others but the school system helped a lot when the kid who was bullying my son was suspended for 1 week and was given an ultimatum that he would be expelled from the school. the results couldnt be better the bully changed and is now a polite boy and my son stopped beggin me to move.The schools needs to keep on top of this situations so that our kids can look forward to go to school happy and free of fear.I believe that every school should enforce strict! rules against bullying it should be mandatory some schoolds dont deal with this situations and it ends with tragic consequences. "
09/6/2011:
"when i looked for help on here on bullys and i saw this i saw that i had many of these signs and its true i am being bullied by my best friend old friends and other good friends i even want to chang schools so much and im afraid to go to school now because i hate it now im going to a private school and i love it! The girls arent mean to me now. And im in 8th grade. "
08/25/2011:
"I'm a 1st time mom and my child is 28 months old and is being bullied by a baby almost 3. I told the day care owner I've seen it with my own eyes and she still denies it. My baby has scratches all over her face ad now I fid out the other child is a biter. I think mabey I should call the Dept of health of something. Any thoughts? "
05/31/2011:
"why do kids have to bully kids does bullying kids make you feel happy or you just feel like doing it,you should be ashame of yourselves!!"
04/8/2011:
"my kid is getting bullied and the teacher does nothing about it the kids even did it in front of her with me there and said nothing"
03/21/2011:
"It took me 7 months to convince my son's school he was being bullied there. We made reports, requested special supervision at recess; they kept denying anything was going on. We persisted and the second to last day of school the teacher finally admitted my son was being bullied and talked to the class about it! Really! We had already arranged to move schools since the bullying was not being appropriately addressed."
03/21/2011:
"I have first hand experience as a mom what bullying does to a child. My daughter was starting 11th grade and had friends start rumors about her. She was sent death threats and was constantly being called at home, sometimes up to 30 times a day. She was an A student but her grades quickly slid. She didn't want to go to school or play on the volleyball team anymore. At school, the kids talked about her and the girls that started all this constantly said bad things to her. I informed the teachers and principal to no avail. My daughter wa so humiliated that we finally took her out of the school and put her in another school district. She was so despondent about the lies about her and the fact that she had to leave her school that she had a nervous breakdown and we had to take her to emergency at our hospital. She was an outcast all because a couple of girls wanted to be popular... My daughter still suffers from lack of trusting anyone and the pain of her humiliation is always there. We went to treatment for awhile but we all suffered tremendously from someone else's meaness. I can certainly empathize with parents who have to go through this with their child. Had it not been for our intervention, we think she would have commited suicide. Don't ever think that girls cannot do hideous things to each other. We found out the hard way, when the school ignored the problem and we had no one who would say anything to help us. Kids are very good about not telling adults what's going on. Thank God that we stepped in and fought all the way for our daughter. Please don't ever think it is just kids fooling around. It is much more than that. When they are young they do not have the knowhow to protect themselves from other children who are more aggresive. We saved our daughter but not until she had to go through the most horrific time of her young life."
03/17/2011:
"Bullying in school is a very serious form of abuse. I have seen it lead to school refusal, depression, physical illness, physical abuse to self and others, and even death. Please, if you think your child is being bullied - please get help - call authorities, form a group of advocates for your child, and get in to that school and demand it be stopped. Bullying is very serious and affects more than schools will let be known."
03/14/2011:
"If you even think your child is being bullied. DO SOMETHING! Spend time in you childs class and observe other kids. Talk to the teacher frequently and ask who they see your child play with or talk to. Spend time talking to your spouse about situations that happened to you as a child. Chances are your child will open up. If your child tells you that some child is bulling your child, go to the teacher and the principal a request a meeting with the child and their family. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy on bulling and let the schools know you know this. They want things to stay quiet in their schools and let your child know you are on their side. It could save your child's life. Any tools you can teach them to cope is helpful."
03/8/2011:
"My daughters school told her to keep her game face on. That was the way to handle bullying. But when she stood up to the bullying and could not take it anymore she was the one that got in trouble and the other kids never got into trouble. That was very wrong. Now the kids are still caliing her names. In fact they are calling her gay. So, we are changing schools. Also, the teachers constantly pick on her and never want to be any help to her. They bully her also. One ask her once if she was of another race. Trying to make it sound like it was putting her down. So many things have happened at this school and never anything has ever been taken care of. It's a wonder I haven't sued them for the way she has been treated. Every time something has happened they made it look like it was her fault. "
01/26/2011:
"I have a 9 year old neice (we are black) she came home today and broke down to her mother and told her that it was not fair that they don't talk to her and that they don't like her because she is black (we don't know if it is because she is negro or that her skin is dark). Another student apparently told her that this is the reason that they don't play with her. She has wanted us to buy her clothes and thought that this would make the children be nice to her and treat her good. She is a chunky little girl, pretty, nice pretty hair. She said that the boys are really mean to her and when she ask them questions they just look at her and won't answer her. She is a very, very, intelligent little girl. She is the only black in her class. I know that no one can make these kids like her or play with her, but they need to stop the things that are being said to her. I don't want them to tear her self esteem down and then, this make her stop doing well in school or having behavi! oral problems. "
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