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5 Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied + What To Do About It

As a child I was bullied. At the time it made me feel very small and unprotected, like an outsider, and I wondered what was wrong with me that I was being targeted in this way. Years later I was still sensitive about the things I was teased about as a child.

As a child I was a bully. It was on two occasions, and I was going through a period of low self-confidence, and looking to impress others by picking on someone I felt wouldn’t stand up to me (because, you know, bullies are just so brave). A bully is an insecure person looking for a fleeting ego boost at the expense of an easy target, but the damage they cause to the victim can sometimes be lifelong. I was so ashamed of hurting someone that years later, I went out of my way to apologize to them. Oddly, I felt worse about being a bully than being bullied, and as a result, I also started to stand up to bullies when I saw them targeting someone else.

I think most of us at one point or another have been bullied, but there is a time when bullying is especially painful- when we find out it’s happening to our child. The idea of my children being bullied makes me see red, so much so that I looked up tips on how to handle this properly, because, like many parents, our initial instinctive response may not be the best way to handle the situation.

Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied and What To Do About It

Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied

* Doesn’t want to go to school
* Sudden personality change, seems withdrawn and not as social or interested in usual activities
* Inflicting pain on self
* Secondary sign: Having to go to bathroom once he arrives home (because he avoided the bathroom- a major bullying zone at school- all day)
* Seems hostile in general, and especially toward siblings or younger children

What To Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied

* Let your child know it’s not their fault (don’t ask them if they did anything to cause the teasing or mocking- it will make them feel you blame them), but also be aware you may not have the full story from one side.
* Discuss ideas with your child about ways to handle the bullying.
* Make an appointment with the school to let teachers know about it- often they have no idea it is happening because bullies do it when authority figures are not around. If a teacher is the bully, make an appointment with the principal.
* If there is any hint of physical threats (not just verbal teasing), alert the police- this is a crime.
* After the situation is resolved (and even while it’s happening) take measures to build up your child’s confidence- encourage them to make friends who are kind, participate in activities they excel at, take martial arts so they feel less afraid, etc.

Being bullied, teased, mocked as a child can have lifelong devastating impact on some children, and make them feel insecure, unsafe, unprotected. Some children feel so ashamed and helpless as a result of being mocked and teased that they take their own life to end the torment. It’s important to let victims of bullying know they aren’t powerless and what is happening isn’t their fault, and isn’t ok. It’s also very important we teach our children to treat others with respect, not be a bully, and not stand by while others are bullied (or worse, join in).

Bullying should not be considered a typical stage all kids go through as they grow up, it’s a sign we as parents need to step in and guide our children toward more compassionate treatment of others.

  • This is a daily fear of mine, that my one of my children will come home and say they’ve been bullied.

  • Anne - Mommy Has to Work

    I just don’t understand how kids can be so mean!

  • It’s such a sensitive issue these days, especially since young teens are committing suicide over being bullied. How horrid to feel hopeless at 12 and 13.

  • This is a huge fear of mine for my kids. They all are small for their age and very shy so they may be prime targets. Ugh

  • i had to deal with this when I was in school . its certainly no fun


    These are good tips. I actually have an experience with my 13-year old boy who was teased by a teacher because of poor mathematics when he was about nine years old. unfortunately I came to learn about it after the said teacher had left the school. I have tried to counsel him but to no avail. As a result of the teasing/bullying he hates maths the more to the extent that his performance has become poorer and poorer even in secondary school.

    To make it worse he believes that he was just cursed by this teacher that he will never get good grades in maths. May be to the teachers out there, please the children come to school because they want to learn so it is no crime that they do not know because this is the very reason that you are employed to teach them what they do not know.

  • Great post. This is one thing I am most afraid of for my kids because I was bullied so much in school.

  • What a great post. My son was bullied and I nipped it in the bud really quick. I don’t stand for that to or from my kids.

  • LOVE this post. It is soooo important to stand up to this. I am like you, I would see RED if some other person bullied my children. I seriously would march right up to them and scare them! You hear about bullying all the time and it is so sad. One time I watched a video that was on a bus, and kids were beating up this child for NO reason. He would get up, sit back down and then be hit in the head again. He just sat there and looked down. I cried SO hard. And that damn bus driver did NOTHING!!! I was shocked. Praying this NEVER happens to our babies!!! I will do anything I can to help spread the word.

  • Penelope

    This makes me want to cry…poor thing, he was knocked down and being hit in the head??? Ugh! Makes me SICK!

  • Donna

    I was fortunate in that I was never bullied. But I fear that my son could be. He is a sensitive, kind-hearted boy. So, we are 90% sure we will be homeschooling him during middle school, which I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about.

  • It makes my heart hurt to think of children experiencing this! 🙁 I never really thought about the bathroom thing, but that makes total sense!

  • Great post! Awareness is KEY!

  • Mom Foodie

    I haven’t had to deal with this as of yet, but my daughter is quite young. It is bound to become an issue at some time though, due to her disability. Kids can be mighty mean.

  • Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words scar for life.