How to spot signs of bullying

Posted 06/12/2018

It can be difficult to tell if your child is being bullied at school. They’re not likely to admit it freely, as they often feel embarrassed or even that it’s their own fault. They may also worry about your reaction and the possibility of a great deal of fuss and bother, possibly leading to isolation at school as peers shun them for getting the bully into trouble. If you see these signs, reassure your child that you will help to make things better – not worse.

Watch for these five signs that your child is being bullied:

1. Mood changes and/or loss of appetite? Are they spending more time than usual alone in their room? Are they less talkative than usual?

2. Bruises, marks, or cuts? They will initially explain these away as accidents or the result of horseplay, but watch for frequency – once or twice may well be the result of vigorous, though innocent, play. But if they seem to be happening on a regular basis, then it may be the result of something more sinister.

3. Missing or damaged clothing or property? Things do go missing now on then but, as above, watch for frequency or patterns.

4. Sleeping poorly or having bad dreams? This is usually a sign that your child is under stress and is not dealing with it.

5. Avoiding school, making up excuses not to attend, feigning illness, or a general reluctance to leave home in the morning? These are all sure signs that your child is not coping with problems at school and is anxious to avoid them.

Finally, be aware that a great deal of bullying is not physical, but psychological, so the signs may not be obvious at first.