It is important to notice the warning signs of bullying in order to deal with the situation quickly. Mood changes in a child are some of the best indicators that he or she is being bullied; he might suddenly become depressed, withdrawn, or irritable, or may start asking to stay home from school frequently or lose interest in schoolwork. In addition, some physical signs of bullying may include unexplained bruises and cuts, or items suddenly going missing, like articles of clothing, money, or personal items brought to school.
The signs of bullying may vary for different kids and situations, since not every instance of bullying is exactly the same. Some children may come home from school with cuts or bruises, or say that their money or belongings were stolen. Some kids might also try to take a different route to school if they walk, for example, or may want to stop riding the school bus. One of the most common signs of bullying is when kids will wake up with frequent stomach aches or other illnesses, saying they want to stay home from school, even if there doesn't appear to be anything actually wrong.
Not all signs of bullying are physical, however. Mental and emotional indicators are sometimes much more likely, since a lot of bullying is just verbal, or may even be taking place entirely online, such as through social networking web sites. Children may become depressed or withdrawn, or may want to stop participating in school activities that they used to enjoy. Grades will also frequently suffer in children who are being bullied. Parents might notice that children suddenly only have one or two friends, or even no friends at all.
Some other noticeable signs of bullying may include changes in appetite or difficulty sleeping. Kids might display increased anxiety or irritability, or develop new phobias or fears. Some may also begin to talk negatively about themselves. If parents notice any of these signs of bullying, it is important to sit down with the child and have a conversation to try to determine what is going on. If the child states that bullying is occurring, it may be necessary to get involved at the school and speak to the child's teacher or someone in the administration office; sometimes it takes more than one report before the problem is resolved, so it is important to be vigilant and continue to look for signs that the bullying is continuing or worsening.