Signs That Your Child May be a Victim of School Bullying

Symptoms to look for if you suspect that your child may be a bullying victim

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Could your child be a victim of bullying? While most parents believe that they would know if their child was being targeted by a bully or bullies, the fact is that bullying, especially as kids get older, can be hidden or less visible. (In contrast, bullying among kindergarteners or young children is much more obvious--such as a child being told, "You can't sit with us" or "You're not invited to my party." With older children, the bullying can be much more subtle.

It's possible for parents to be unaware that their child is dealing with bullies; this is why it's important to know the signs.

A child who may be a victim of school bullying may be reluctant to tell his parents out of shame or fear. But many kids who suffer from school bullying may display some symptoms common to victims of bullying behavior. If you suspect that your child may be a target of school bullying, look for these telltale clues:

  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Complaints of headaches or stomachaches
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Sudden drop in school performance
  • Trouble sleeping or eating
  • Sudden aggressive behavior or displays of temper
  • Conflict with siblings or playmates
  • Repeated loss of or damage to his personal belongings
  • Unexplained injuries

If you see any of these signs, or if your instinct tells you that something is bothering your child, talk to her right away. Be clear in your own mind about what bullying is--intentional aggressive behavior that can be physical or verbal, and can take the form of cyberbullying.

Get as much information as you can, talk to your child teacher and pediatrician, and check out sites like StopBullying.gov for information and resources.

For more about bullying, its effect on victims, and what parents can do to prevent and stop bullying, read:

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