If you’ve spent some time on our blog over the last month or two, then you know that bullying can be a major risk factor for depression and suicide. Unfortunately, bullying often goes unnoticed by parents and school officials because the signs of bullying are not always easy to identify. Here are some of the most common signs that a teen is being bullied.
- Unexplained loss of possessions. Does your child seem to lose possessions without explanation, such as lunch money, clothing, shoes, school supplies, or gadgets? This could be because they have been stolen by a bully.
- Unexplained physical marks. Unexplained physical marks, such as cuts, bruises, or scrapes could be a sign that your teen has been a victim of physical bullying.
- Lack of interest in activities with peers. Lack of interest in activities with peers, such as school dances, after-school sports, or even simply riding the school bus, could be a result of bullying in these environments.
- Decline in academic performance. Bullying can cause difficulty concentration or lead to feelings of apathy toward school and other responsibilities.
- Fear of being left alone. Similarly, you might notice that your teen seems more clingy than usual, be it to parents or to other friends. This could be because your teen is afraid of being left alone, when bullying is more likely to occur.
- Change in eating habits. Bullying can cause any variety of emotions which might trigger a loss of appetite.
- Sadness or distress with no apparent cause. Bullying often happens discreetly, and it can spark feelings of sadness, anger, and anxiety. Moodiness and moods that last with no known cause could be a result of bullying.
- Self-blame and negative self-talk. Does your teen engage in self-blame and negative self-talk? This could be because bullying has conditioned them to exhibit self-disdain and low self-esteem.
- Bullying. Sometimes bullied teens change roles and become the bullies themselves.
These, of course, are only some of the most common signs of bullying. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, it is essential to talk with your child and with school counselors and officials about the best options for your child. In addition, it is important to consider the long-term ramifications of bullying. Bullying can be a major risk factor for teen depression or suicide. If your teen has experienced bullying, consider reaching out to a behavioral health specialist for your teen’s sake.