Parents: Signs that your teen is being bullied

Bullying is threatening, aggressive, persistent and unwanted behavior that intentionally harms another person emotionally and/or physically. There are several different types of bullying that may occur among teens, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, verbal bullying and/or cyberbullying. It is extremely important that parents, as well as children, understand that there is no form of bullying that is less serious or that requires less attention than another form of bullying. The person being bullied usually has difficulty preventing the behaviors that are being directed toward them, and they often struggle with defending themselves. Many teens, especially boys, will not tell their parent or another adult that they are being bullied. So, it is extremely important that parents are aware of the possible signs that their teen is being bullied. The following guide will help you recognize the signs of a teen that is being bullied.

Identifying Potential Victims of Bullying

In most situations a victim of a bully will display signs of being distressed. Signs may include withdrawal, anxiety, cutting class, depression and/or a decrease in school performance. Unfortunately, some teens may become the victim of a bully simply because they are considered to be a minority, such as ethnic minorities, religious minorities, low economic status, and homosexuals or simply because they are smaller in stature than the bully. However, any child or teenager can become the victim of a bully, without falling into one of the above categories. Although the victims of a bully may vary, it is common for teens that are different in some way than their peers to fall prey to a bully.

Signs That Your Teen is Being Bullied

There are typically warning signs that can indicate when a teen is being bullied; however, not all kids that are being bullied will exhibit the warning signs. It is essential that parents talk to their teens on a regular basis about bullying and encourage them to come to you or another adult if they are being bullied. Some of the warning signs of a teen being bullied may include:


  • Unexplained cuts, bruises and/or scratches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Has reoccurring bad dreams
  • Torn, damaged, or missing pieces of belongings, such as books or clothing
  • Fearful of riding the school bus, walking to and from school, or participating in organized school activities
  • When walking, they will take an illogical route
  • Loss of interest in school work and/or sudden drop in grades
  • Appears sad, moody, depressed, or teary when arriving home from school
  • A sudden change in appetite
  • Reoccurring headaches, stomach aches, frequent complaints of sickness, or fakes being ill to avoid going to school
  • Appears to suffer with anxiousness and/or low self-esteem
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Self-destructive behaviors, such as running away from home, harming themselves, and/or talking about or attempting suicide

Bullying can happen to girls or boys and children of all ages at any time. It is vital that you talk with your teens about bullying and encourage them to learn what to do if they are being bullied. It is also equally important to talk with teens you suspect are being bullies about their behavior. Encourage your teenager to speak up when witnessing bullying and to speak up when being bullied. It is also extremely important to encourage schools to enact no bulling policies and encourage the school faculty to intervene.