Bullying comes in several different -- sometimes interconnected -- forms, including physical, verbal and psychological. If the bullying is physical in nature, the chances of recognizing it are increased. A parent is likely to notice torn clothing, a black eye or a bloody lip that shows up on a regular basis.
But even physical bullying evidence can be hidden or explained away; and psychological and verbal bullying can leave no physical evidence at all. The best way to recognize if your child is a bullying victim is to look for a wide variety of signs that, individually, may simply mean "teenager" but collectively could indicate a bullying situation.
A few of these warning signs include:
- Unexplained anxiety, moodiness, depression
- Appetite loss, difficulty sleeping, teariness
- Sudden drop in grades or interest in school
- Frequent illness or health complaints
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Seems afraid to go to school
These types of signs can be cause to worry, but they can't tell you what's going on. To even begin to find out if your concerns are valid, you need to ask -- which can be harder than it sounds.