Are you worried your child is being bullied at school? A 2013 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly 1 in 5 high school students had been bullied on school property in the past year, and 1 in 7 had been electronically bullied over the same period. Bullying is a growing problem in the United States, so much that the Department of Health and Human Services has launched an anti-bullying website to help parents, teachers, and children prevent acts of abuse before they get out of hand.
In this multi-part series, we will explore nine warning signs of bullying that you can watch for in your child. The sooner you notice the problem, the sooner you can take action against it.
Bruises, scrapes, and cuts on your child’s body are clear-cut signs of bullying. Or course, some of these may be circumstantial – biking accidents, sports injuries, roughhousing, etc. If your child is consistently getting injured though, you may want to look further into the situation.
Note that if your child is embarrassed about being bullied, he may make excuses for the bruises and cuts, similar to the excuses many victims of domestic violence make. Your child may also do this out of fear of the bully’s retaliation if he gets in trouble. Watch for other warning signs of bullying to see if your child is lying about the severity of his circumstances.
Fake Or Uncharacteristic Illnesses
Many children will try to fake being sick as a way to get out of school, but some do so to avoid facing their bullies. In many cases, the stress of being bullied will lead to real health problems, like severe headaches, vomiting, or bowel troubles. If your child seems to be avoiding school on a consistent basis, do not instantly assume it is an effort to get out of doing work. There could be a much bigger issue on the horizon.
The stress, confusion, and fear of bullying may cause your child to have difficulty sleeping. Dark circles under the eyes or late nights watching TV may be a side effect of the trauma your kid goes through on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation in children is almost always a sign of an underlying issue, whether it be bullying or a medical condition that needs to be treated. You can work with a child counselor to identify these issues and determine how to best help your child.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our guide to learn even more warning signs of bullying.