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4 Signs Your Child is Being Bullied in School

Is your child being bullied? Despite all the work being done in this area, bullying in schools is still a big problem in the United States. Compounding this problem is many children are reluctant to come forward and tell the adults in their lives that they have a problem. Fortunately, there are warning signs you can look for to tell if your child is being bullied.

I’m Arizona school assembly presenter Graham Rogers. I’ve performed thousands of educational school assembly programs in multiple countries worldwide. It’s my goal to help parents and educators deal with the problems they face by providing useful and informative articles on relevant topics. Let’s dive in!

To find out if your child is being bullied in school, you need to be plugged into your child’s daily routines and habits. When something is ‘off’ or their behavior changes, that’s a pretty good indicator that something may be wrong.

Bullying in School Warning Sign #1:  Trying to Stay Home

Does your child look for excuses to stay home from school? Does your child drag their feet when getting ready for school? If they are being tormented by other students, it makes sense they wouldn’t want to go where they know they are going to be bullied.

Younger elementary school-age children may conjure up phantom aches or pains. Or they may claim to not feel good to stay home. If you have older students such as teenagers, they may just skip school completely.

Bullying in School Warning Sign #2: Frequent Sickness

One good thing that’s happened in the 21st century is the realization that stress affects the body. Excess worry or anxiety manifests itself in often surprising ways. While past generations often poo-pooed the idea of stress as anything other than being a ‘worry wart,’ experts now recognize how damaging ongoing stress can be.

When we are stressed, our bodies are flooded with chemicals in preparation for fight or flight. It’s literally a protection response to an existential threat. Our bodies prepare us to do battle or flee from danger. But there’s a problem with these responses.

It’s only intended for short bursts. When we are under stress daily, our bodies keep churning out those responses. And it taxes our bodies. Think of gunning your car so the engine runs very hard. The RPM gauge on your dashboard hits red. It’s telling you this high-octane activity isn’t good for your car and a breakdown could occur.

Same thing with kids being bullied. They’re under constant stress. And the body responds with sickness, headaches, etc. If your child complains of being sick often, it may not be an excuse to avoid school. Their bodies are likely to respond to the constant stress much like your RPM gauge in your car.

Bullying in School Warning Sign #3: Damaged Belongings

On the surface, this might seem obvious. If your child’s books, backpack, or even clothes are damaged, there’s clearly a problem…right? Maybe. But considering how clumsy kids often are, it’s a warning sign, not a definite confirmation.

Again, look at your child’s regular behavior. Do they habitually damage things? Are they at that ‘awkward’ stage during a growth spurt? If they routinely trip or fall, look at damaged belongings as a potential warning sign, but investigate further. Look at their other behaviors to see if anything else is different.   

Bullying in School Warning Sign #4: Change in Behavior

This could involve a LOT of possible behavior changes. Is your child withdrawing from family activities? Are they changing friends? Are they no longer using their mobile devices? All of this could be in response to bullying.

If your child withdraws from family activities, it might be because they feel embarrassed or ashamed of what’s happening to them, and they don’t want to answer questions. If your child suddenly changes friends or withdraws from interacting with others on their tablet or phone, they might be experiencing bullying in school.

Cyberbullying is insidious in that it attacks the victim everywhere they go. Before the creation of the Internet, when a child left school and went home, they may have felt some relief at being away from their tormentors. But with social media and countless ways to stay connected in the virtual world, it’s easier than ever for bullies to reach their victims even outside of school.

What You Can Do

It’s easy for all of us to disconnect from each other. Many two-parent households see both parents working to provide for the family. Single parents often must work even harder. And even in households where one parent is an at-home caregiver, daily life gets in the way.

The most important thing you can do as a parent is to be involved in your child’s school life. Schedule regular meetings with your child’s teachers. Ask your child how their day went. Pay attention to their behaviors.

Want to Inspire Your Child’s Entire School?

I offer a fun-filled SEL school assembly called “Take a Stand, Lend a Hand!” This 45-minute program tackles key issues facing children today. The best part? I designed this program from the ground up to comply with the state of Arizona’s social-emotional learning curriculum. Find out more HERE.