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Advice for Parents


Warning Signs that a Child is being Bullied


Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied:

• Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing

pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings;

• Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches;

• Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she

spends time;

• Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and

from school, riding the school bus, or taking part

in organized activities with peers (such as clubs);

• Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or

from school;

• Has lost interest in school work or suddenly

begins to do poorly in school;

• Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he

or she comes home;

• Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches,

or other physical ailments;

• Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams;

• Experiences a loss of appetite; or


What should you do?


1. Talk with your child. Tell your child that you are

concerned and that you’d like to help. Here are

some questions that can get the discussion going:

• “I’m worried about you. Are there any kids

at school who may be picking on you or

bullying you?”

• “Are there any kids at school who tease you in a

mean way?”

• “Are there any kids at school who leave you out or

exclude you on purpose?”

• “Do you have any special friends at school this

year? Who are they? Who do you hang out with?”

• “Who do you sit with at lunch and on the bus?”

• “Are there any kids at school who you really don’t

like? Why don’t you like them? Do they ever pick

on you or leave you out of things?”

2. Talk with staff at your child’s school. Call or set up

an appointment to talk with your child’s teacher. He

or she will probably be in the best position to

understand the relationships between your child

and other peers at school. Share your concerns

about your child. 

If you are not comfortable talking with your child’s

teacher, or if you are not satisfied with the

conversation, make an appointment to meet with

your child’s guidance counselor or principal to

discuss your concerns.



Olweus, D.

(1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. NY: Blackwell.

Olweus, D., Limber, S., & Mihalic, S.

(1999). The Bullying Prevention Program: Blueprints for violence prevention. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study

and Prevention of Violence.