Signs of a Bullied Child

With the new school year approaching, it can be a time for your child that causes nervousness. Entering a new grade, or for some, a new school, can be a stressful experience. While we know the innocence of children, we are also all too aware that bullying, name-calling, and picking on certain children does happen, no matter the age group. Even if your child is very open with you as a parent, they can sometimes feel uncomfortable talking about some issues, the main one of these being bullying. As Florida’s premier provider of family services, we wanted to discuss some signs of a bullied child so that you can help your child overcome the stress and sadness they may be feeling.

Signs of Physical Bullying and Abuse

Physical bullying can occur with kids in all age groups. While it is a terrible thing, it is probably the most easily noticeable bullying that occurs. Some common signs are unusual bruises or injuries your child may have picked up. Of course, a bruise here or there is going to happen with children, as falls, scrapes, and accidents are nearly a daily occurrence with young kids. The key is to look out for injuries paired with changes in behavior, lost items, clothing, and/or jewelry. If you notice that your child has been picking up strange but repetitive injuries over a short time, it is a common sign they may be being bullied. A great resource to find out more is to talk with your child’s teachers and supervisors at school, as school is most likely where any bullying is occurring.  

You may also wish to try to discuss this with your child. Though they may be truthful with you, it’s possible they might be embarrassed to discuss it, act defensive, and not make eye contact. This is a natural reaction and has nothing to do with them not trusting you or not being able to talk to you. A great resource is to employ child counseling services available at your child’s school or elsewhere to give your child a safe space to express their grievances.

Signs of Emotional Bullying

Emotional bullying can be just as traumatic or worse than physical bullying. Emotional bullying can be more difficult to identify, as physical signs won’t accompany it. Some signs of emotional bullying can be one, or a combination, of the following:

  • A sudden change in the demeanor of your child
  • Frequently feigning being ill and wanting to miss school
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • A decline in grades and schoolwork
  • A decline in the desire to see friends and participate in after school activities
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Once again, a great resource to gain further insight is to try speaking with your child, their teachers, and school supervisors. Teachers and supervisors can let you know of anything they have noticed in the past, and they can also be on the lookout for any signs or disruptions in the classroom.

    Signs of Online Bullying

    Unfortunately, in recent years a new area has emerged where children are frequently bullied. Online bullying can take many forms and can be just as harmful. It is a form of emotional bullying that can continue even after they leave the physical presence of the bully. The symptoms will most likely be the same as the signs mentioned above for emotional bullying. We recommend monitoring your child’s online use and social media accounts, which can show mean and harmful comments or messages.

    Limiting your child’s time on social media and the internet will provide mental and physical benefits regardless of if they are being bullied or not. We recommend providing restrictions, outside of schoolwork, for how much time children are allowed to spend on the internet.

    Helping a Bullied Child

    Enlisting the help of a family and child therapist can yield amazing results for the mental well-being of your child. Our offices in Palm Beach County and Broward County are committed to helping families strengthen and improve relationships and mental health. For those who are continuing to social distance or who have issues traveling, we additionally provide telehealth therapy to continue providing our services in a safe way. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for you and your family.  

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