Dealing with Bullies

Who's at Risk?

Children who are bullied are likely to be perceived as easy targets or as being different in some way, says Swearer. For instance, a child may be picked on for being short, overweight, having a disability, wearing clothes that aren't "cool," or for belonging to a certain race or religious group. He or she may also be bullied for lacking certain social skills or for being someone who cries a lot or acts weird, she adds.

Whatever the reasons for the bullying, children may not always want to talk about the problem and may be afraid to ask for your help and support. There are, however, some telltale signs to look for. For instance, your child may:

  • Avoid certain situations, people, or places
  • Pretend to be sick to avoid going to school
  • Become withdrawn, passive, and self-destructive, or overly active and aggressive
  • Cry frequently or feel sad
  • Show signs of low self-esteem
  • Show signs of injuries
  • Suddenly receive lower grades or show signs of learning problems
  • Have recurrent physical symptoms, such as stomach pains and fatigue

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