Signs Your Child May Be Getting Bullied

Mother comforts her bullied child.

No parent wants to find out their child is being bullied. Worrying about your child’s safety is perfectly understandable, since 28% of students are bullied.

You want the best for your children, and that means feeling like they are safe at school. Maybe you’ve noticed your child seems more defeated, or you think they’re less energetic than usual.

But what are some warning signs of bullying? You can’t be there with your child all the time, even if you worry something is happening to them.

Why Kids Get Bullied

There’s no single reason why some kids get bullied and others don’t. Bullying is a complex issue with no easy solutions.

Some children tend to be more prone to bullying than others. Here are some risk factors that might make your child more likely to get bullied.

Creative Imagination

Kids who learn quickly or who have an active imagination get targeted by bullies who are jealous. If your child tends to make up stories or goes through their schoolwork quickly to get to what they love, this could make them more vulnerable.


Special needs children are more prone to bullying than other kids. This includes neurological and physical disabilities. Bullies don’t understand what is going on and see it as a vulnerability they can attack.

Gifted Students

Gifted children tend to get more attention from those around them. When bullies see this, they can feel like something is wrong with them since they aren’t getting that attention. They react and try to bully other kids to make them feel bad and doubt their skills.

Few Friends

Bullies pick on kids with few or no friends because they know they won’t be challenged. If you notice your child doesn’t talk to anyone when you go to pick him or her up, they may be having trouble making friends.

Low Self-Esteem

It seems unfair that children who already struggle with their self-esteem are more likely to be picked on by their peers. But other kids see those with low self-esteem as an easy target.

Personality Types

If the other school kids perceive any kind of vulnerability in your child, they’re more likely to bully them. Is your child more anxious, introverted, or submissive than others? They make for easier bullying targets than kids who are more extroverted and confident in themselves.


Behavioral Signs of Bullying

One of the biggest signs of bullying in school is a sudden shift in your child’s behavior. Did they go from being energetic to being more reserved and quiet? Do they seem more afraid than before?

What are signs of bullying of at school you can see in your child’s behavior? There are many behavioral changes that can indicate your child is being targeted.

Sleeping or eating pattern changes are the biggest indicators. If your child barely touches his or her food, starts to frequently feel ill in the morning, or tends to oversleep, he or she could be showing early signs of depression of anxiety. Come in to our Riverton or South Jordan location to get these checked as soon as you notice them. Early action can help prevent mental issues for your child down the line.

There are two main types of bullying: emotional and physical.

What Are Signs of Emotional Bullying?

(what is emotional bullying)

Unexplainable mood swings and aggressive behavior are some of the more common signs of emotional bullying. If they suddenly start trying to avoid going to school, or have a major drop in grades, these are signs that they don’t feel safe at school and are trying to avoid ridicule.

Children may pick on their siblings when they’re being bullied. Making someone else feel bad can give them a sense of control that’s being taken away through peer aggression.

What Are Signs of Physical Bullying?

Physical bullying is more likely to leave signs behind. Unexplained bruises, scratches, or other injuries. are great cause for concern. However, if they’re missing belongings or come home hungry, this could be a sign that their lunch or things were stolen.

If your child shows signs of physical bullying, bring them in to our clinic immediately. While some injuries may not have lasting physical consequences, others can become infected and cause issues. Our pediatric team will treat his or her injuries and help you find resources to combat bullying.

What Are Signs of Bullying at School?

If you’re a teacher, or work at a school, you might be seeing some behavior that resembles signs and symptoms of bullying. Here’s some behavior at school that will tip you off about children being bullied.

If you notice a child seems frightened or insecure, they’re likely being targeted. Students who used to do well but have a sudden drop in their grades are often unable to focus on their schoolwork because they’re too preoccupied with how they’re being treated.

What Can You Do About Bullying?

There are many things you as a parent or teacher can do to reduce and prevent bullying at school. One of the best things you can do is to invest in a bullying prevention program at your school. This can take the form of volunteering your time or money or starting an initiative if they don’t already have one.

Here are some other ideas.

Teach Your Kids to Stand up for Themselves

Investing in martial arts or self-defense classes can be a great way to help your children feel more secure. When they know they can defend themselves if they’re being picked on, they’re less likely to let other children target them.

You can also help them learn how to defend themselves from emotional abuse by teaching them about boundaries and speaking up for themselves. Help them learn how to ask for help when they need it.

Help Them Boost Their Confidence

When your children feel more confident about themselves, other kids are less likely to see them as easily manipulated. Help them see their good qualities and work to help them feel good about themselves.

Take Worries About Bullying Seriously

Bullying isn’t something to take lightly. If you have any cause for concern, reach out to your child’s teachers or administrators at the school. Because bullying at school is so common, they likely have actions in place to address these concerns.

See Your Doctor

If you’ve started seeing some of the warning signs of bullying in your child, we’re here to help. Don’t wait to bring your child in because you think it isn’t that bad. Early action is the best way to stop it from getting worse and help your child feel safe and secure in his or her education.

Zak Zarbock, M.D.

Zak Zarbock, M.D.

Zak practices pediatrics in our Riverton office.

a happy father receives a kiss from his son

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