What Are the Signs of Bullying?

In my last post, I began writing about the issue of bullying. I will be addressing aspects of this topic in more detail in future posts, so keep reading.

Bullying, a hot topic on the Internet

Some parents may want to know about signs of bullying.  Have you witnessed changes in your child’s or teen’s behavior? Even subtle changes?

Of course, any erratic behavior in a teen’s life can be a signal that a parent would notice. Such changes can be due to their developmental process, peer groups, bullying or even risk-taking behavior that did not go well for them.

threatening harm
Some teens masterfully hide fears from parents

Whether it is cyber-bullying, or bullying that is physical, emotional or relational, most teenagers show signs that it is happening in their lives.

However, teens are also known to be masters at hiding their feelings and issues they may face. Therefore, keeping our “radar up” with our teenagers is important for many reasons, but may be particularly helpful because of their penchant for secrecy.

Many websites feature articles on bullying. I think reading these articles is helpful, and  I invite parents and caregivers to visit those sites to learn all they can about school bullying. As an example, on is a typical list of behaviors that may indicate your child or teenager is a potential victim of bullying.

teen gang member with baseball bat
Even subtle changes in behavior can provide insight about bullying

You can look for any or several of these behaviors.

Does your child or teen:

  • Come home from school with damaged, ripped, or missing clothes, books, or other possessions?
  • Have unexplained cuts and bruises?
  • Hardly ever hang out with other teens?
  • Seem afraid of going to school, whether it be walking to and from school, riding the bus, or taking part in school activities with other teenagers?
  • Walk a roundabout way to or from school?
  • Seem no longer interested in schoolwork or have falling grades?
  • Look upset when he or she comes home?
  • Complain often of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical problems?
  • Have trouble sleeping or suffer from bad dreams?
  • Not eat as much as normal?
  • Appear anxious or lacking in self-esteem?

Please know that a communicative relationship that involves active listening must be a part of your process with your teenager since his or her life is in frequently in upheaval at many levels.

Although some of the questions listed above typify normal ups and downs of teen life, it is still appropriate and wise to be aware of such signs.  Once we are aware, we can begin to offer opportunities for our children and teens to share what is going on in their lives.

I know where you live
Keeping communication with your teen is important

No matter what the cause, building a relationship around the key issues in their lives will help them.  The more we connect, the more we will be aware of issues and the hope that we can prevent major difficulties in their lives.

More to come in future posts.

Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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