Is Your Child Being Bullied? Look For These Signs

Bullying is a serious issue that affects many children, leaving emotional scars that can last a lifetime. In fact, one out of every five students reports being bullied, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Boys are more likely to report being physically bullied, whereas girls are more likely to be psychologically bullied, by being excluded or targeted as the subject of vicious rumors. 

As teachers and parents, it's crucial to be vigilant and proactive in identifying bullying behaviors in children. By recognizing the signs early on, we can step in to support and protect our young ones from harm. Here, we'll explore common bullying symptoms and the steps both teachers and parents should take to encourage open communication with children.

Identifying Bullying Symptoms

  • Changes in Behavior - Keep an eye out for sudden and unexplained changes in a child's behavior. Bullying victims may become withdrawn, anxious, or exhibit signs of depression.
  • Physical Complaints - Frequent complaints of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical ailments could be a sign that a child is experiencing bullying-related stress.
  • Social Isolation - If a child suddenly starts avoiding social activities or isolates themselves from their peers, it might indicate they are being bullied.
  • Unexplained Injuries: Be cautious of recurring unexplained bruises or injuries that the child may be reluctant to discuss.
  • Decline in Academic Performance: Bullying can take a toll on a child's concentration and overall academic performance. Notice if their grades start to slip without a clear explanation.

Empowering Communication

  • Create a Safe Environment - Foster an environment of trust and openness at home and in the classroom. Let children know that they can talk about anything without fear of judgment.
  • Active Listening - When a child expresses concerns, be an active listener. Give them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and show empathy.
  • Use Kid-Friendly Language - Explain the concept of bullying in a way that children can understand. Use relatable examples and language appropriate to their age group.
  • Encourage Reporting - Reassure children that reporting bullying is essential for everyone's safety. Let them know that they won't face negative consequences for speaking up.
  • Role-Playing - Engage in role-playing scenarios where children can practice how to respond if they encounter bullying. Offer suggestions for assertive ways to handle the situation.

As teachers and parents, we play a vital role in safeguarding our children's emotional well-being. By being attentive to bullying symptoms and creating a supportive environment, we can empower children to communicate their experiences without fear. Remember, open communication is the key to tackling bullying effectively and fostering a safe and nurturing space for our young ones to thrive.


Children may use certain phrases or terms to hint that they are being bullied. The phrases listed below could be subtle indicators that a child is experiencing bullying. It's essential for teachers and parents to be attentive to their children's language and emotions to provide the support they need. Encouraging open communication and creating a safe space for them to express their feelings is crucial in helping them navigate through difficult situations.

Common Things To Look For  How Adults Can Respond
  • "They keep picking on me.”
  • Active Listening: "I'm here for you. Please tell me more about what's going on. I promise I will listen and try to understand."
  • "I don't have any friends.”
  • Reassurance: "I believe you, and it's not your fault. You can talk to me anytime you need to."
  • "I don't want to go to the school, daycare, playground anymore.”
  • Validation: "It sounds like you're going through a tough time. Your feelings are valid, and I'm here to help."
  • "I feel scared and anxious around certain kids."
  • Encouragement: "You're so brave for sharing this with me. Reporting bullying is the right thing to do, and it helps keep everyone safe."
  • "I wish I could be invisible."
  • Problem-Solving: "Let's think of ways to handle this together. We can talk to your teacher/principal/parents about what's happening."
  • "They call me mean names."
  • Empowerment: "Remember, you don't have to face this alone. We'll work as a team to address the situation."
  • "Nobody likes me."
  • Role-Playing: "Let's practice how to respond to the bullies, so you can feel more confident if it happens again."
  • "I don't want to talk about it."
  • Contacting the School: "I will talk to your teacher/principal about what you've shared. They need to know to ensure your safety."
  • "I feel sad all the time."
  • Follow-Up: "We will keep an eye on the situation and continue to communicate until things improve."
  • "They won't let me join their group or play with them."
  • Building Support: "We can involve other adults you trust, like a school counselor or a family member, if that makes you feel more comfortable."

Be Prepared

When a child hints or expresses that they are being bullied, it's crucial for adults to respond in a supportive and compassionate manner. Remember, each situation is unique, and the response should be tailored to your child's age, personality, and emotional needs. It is vital for adults to provide a safe and nurturing environment, reassuring the child that they have someone they can rely on for support and protection. Taking their concerns seriously and acting promptly can make a significant difference in their well-being.

Read more about bullying in our resource content here

Parents and teachers can find more resources to prevent and address bullying for young children and teens at The National Bullying Prevention Center at To find a licensed counselor who specializes in children’s issues in your area, learn more about my team at Lifeologie Counseling Shreveport or meet all of our therapists here at Lifeologie Counseling practices across the country.

About Veronica Blaze

Veronica Blaze earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Louisiana Tech University, and her Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University. She works with adolescents and adults, specializing in trauma and crisis management, as well as racial and health equity. She is skilled in neuropsychological evaluation, outpatient community services, and re-entry transitional services, and is the owner of Lifeologie Counseling Shreveport.

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