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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Bullying: Signs a Child Is Bullied

Overview

Children who are being bullied may be embarrassed and not want to talk about it. Be aware of the signs that your child is being bullied so you can help resolve the problem.

If your child is being bullied, they may:

  • Have physical injuries. Bruises, cuts, scrapes, and scratches are common.
  • "Lose" items frequently. Bullying often includes taking belongings or stealing lunch money or prepared lunches. Your child may come home from school without favorite toys, clothes, or other items. Your child may also come home very hungry from having missed lunch.
  • Sleep poorly and develop frequent headaches, stomachaches, and other physical problems. Or your child may pretend to be sick or make other excuses to avoid certain people or situations.
  • Cry frequently or act differently. For example, a usually outgoing child may suddenly become withdrawn and sad. A shy child may become overactive and aggressive.
  • Bully others. These children often respond to being bullied by feeling anxious and aggressive. Without knowing how to handle these feelings, they target other children who they think will not fight back.
  • Not speak or show fear when certain people or situations are mentioned.
  • Suddenly receive lower grades or develop learning problems.
  • Talk about suicide.

Children who are bullied are not to blame for attacks against them. Make sure your child understands this.

Where to get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If your child talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. You can:

  • Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
  • Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.

Consider saving these numbers in your phone.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics