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National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: Warning Signs


The third part in our National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month series will focus on warning signs that identify children who are being bullied and children who are bullying others.

A Preface to the Warning Signs

Though no adult wants to look at a child for the warning signs that may identify them as either being bullied or as the bully—it is important to know so that intervention can occur as soon as possible. The following warning signs should be used to assist in the steps towards deescalating a situation where bullying in taking place. If a child is being bullied or bullying, they may not be able to or know how to ask others for help.

Why a child may not ask for help:

  • A child may try to solve the problem on their own so they feel as if they have some control in their life.
  • A child may fear retaliation from a bully.
  • A child may fear humiliation in the face of their peers or even the adults in their life.
  • A child who has been bullied may feel isolated and think they have no one to seek help from.
  • A child may fear reject and further isolation from their peers.

It is up to adults—parents, caregivers, faculty and staff members at schools, and teachers—to identify these warning signs so that the root of the problem can be addressed for the children who bully and the ones that are bullied.

Warning Signs of a Child Who is Being Bullied

It is important to note that not all children who are bullied may demonstrate warning signs. According to stopbullying.gov, however, the following signs can indicate there is a bullying situation:

  • If a child has injuries that they are reluctant to explain.
  • If a child has lost property or has property that is destroyed altogether.
  • If a child is frequently feeling sick or faking illness.
  • If a child displays changes in eating patterns.
  • If a child has troubled sleeping patterns.
  • If a child has a sudden disinterest in going to school and in their school work.
  • If a child is avoiding social situations.
  • If a child is exhibiting self-destructive behavior.
Warning Signs of a Child Who is Bullying

According to stopbullying.gov, children who may be bullying their peers can exhibit the following warning signs:

  • If a child is participating in verbal and physical fights.
  • If a child associates with others who are known bullies.
  • If a child shows increased amounts of aggression.
  • If a child has frequent misconduct issues at school.
  • If a child suddenly has money or property they can’t explain.
  • If a child cannot take responsibility for their actions and pushes the blame onto others.
  • If a child is worried about their standing among their peers.

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