The Warning Signs for Bullying


While many are inclined to assume that bullying signs are readily observable or noticeable at a glance, this is not often the case. Some bullying injuries can be hidden, and though these signs might appear at some point in life, damaging effects might have already taken place, and your child might have endured intense emotional and physical torture to a point of relent.

While some bully-victims may suffer physical injuries which might be easy to hide, many bullies mainly use verbal intimidation, which causes emotional harm. For various reasons, your child may choose not to inform you or the teacher about the problem, and prefer perseverance, hoping that this will end soon. It’s thus essential to be keen and watchful of signs of demeanor in your child, else they are likely to suffer the costly effects of bullying, which include mental health effects, blood pressure, trauma, heart problems, eating disorders, insomnia or even death through suicide.

The effects of bullying may also turn costly for the bully and his/her parents. For instance, they might lead to lawsuits, suspension or expulsion from school, tarnishing of a family business among others. It’s also important to be watchful of signs that your child is a bully or being bullied to avoid the potentially detrimental effects of bullying. More so, recognizing that your child is a bully or a victim of bullying is an essential step in taking action against bullying.

Read on to get gist of some most common indicators that your child might be a bully or a victim of bullying at school, at home or elsewhere.

Signs that your Child Is Being Bullied

It’s important to note that different children may exhibit different signs. Nevertheless, the following effects may indicate that your child is being bullied.

  • Physical injuries-the sight of physical injuries after school or after playing with other kids around the neighborhood might indicate bullying. This is even clearer when the child cannot explain the source of the injuries or seem uncomfortable to explain why s/he has some cuts, is limping, blood stains or other forms of the altercation.
  • Loss of interest in school, loss of excitement at the last bell, or other school activities- many children who have been bullied at school lose interest in going to school for the fear of enduring some form of emotionally or physically painful experience. The same is true when a child has been a victim of bullying at home. Additionally, the child might seem turned off when placed in the same discussion group with a specific selection of classmates.
  • Loss of interest in a socializing-your child might seem uncomfortable in the midst of other kids. Sometimes, s/he will move away, seem distant or weary in the presence of a particular child. This may indicate that s/he has been previously bullied.
  • Change in eating habits- a child bullied from school may come home starving. This might imply that your child skipped lunch at school since it was snatched from him/her by a bully or s/he avoided the lunch queue due to the presence of bullies.
  • Feelings of helplessness, the use of self-disparaging language or a sudden decline in self-esteem- bullying drains a child’s self-concept, and this is exhibited through loss of self-esteem, which is characterized by feeling down, discouraged and unworthy.
  • Unexplained loss of personal property, such as books, clothing, watches or money- Bullies has a tendency of snatching away objects from their victims. If your child comes home crying that his items have been snatched, it’s clear evidence that s/he has just encountered a bully.
  • Your child might be a victim if s/he consistently asks for extra cash, for which s/he cannot account for.
  • Depressive symptoms like stomach aches, throwing up and frequent headaches also indicate the possibility of a bullied child.
  • Difficulty getting sleep and frequent nightmares may also point to having endured a bullying experience.
  • A decline in academics and sudden preference of a change of school or detour to and from school is also a call for alarm that your child has been bullied.
  • If the child seems insecure in class or is a frequent target for mimicking, teasing or ridicule by a group of others, then s/he might be a victim of bullying.

Warning Signs that your child is Bullying Others

The following signs are essential in detecting a child who is probably a bully to others.

  • S/he is always a trouble seeker-your child might be a bully if s/he is always involved in troubles, mainly in terms of verbal or physical conflicts or fights.
  • Being in the company of rebellious children- If s/he is an ally to a bully, then s/he is probably a bully.
  • Competitive and obsession with popularity- children obsessed with being recognized as strong may always bully others to acquire such statuses.
  • A child who habitually blames others, even after being caught is in most cases a bully. Excessive aggression- if you note your child being increasingly aggressive or violent at home, then he is probably a bully at school.
  • Frequent suspension from school for harassing other children is probably a bully.
  • If your child has always some extra money/belonging which s/he cannot for, then it may.
  • Lack of empathy and positive attitudes towards violence are also indicators of a bully.

Why do many children fail to ask for help?

Studies show that majority of victims of bullying do not report, nor request help. This is mainly because:

  • Some children think that reporting is a sign of weakness. They thus would like to handle it on their own and feel in control.
  • The fear of aggravating the issue further- some fear that their bullies might retaliate.
  • They fear being humiliated or being judged, especially if the bully is smaller in body stature.
  • Some children (especially smaller in physique, minorities or disabled) feel socially isolated.  They may not report since they feel that no one cares.
  • Some fear being rejected by peers. To some, endurance is a sign of strength and a ticket to belonging to the strong. Reporting might jeopardize their opportunity to belong to the ‘reigning group’ at school or the neighborhood.

Last Updated on September 22, 2021