How to tell if your child is being bullied (or is the bully himself)

Stop-Bullying-Lift-People-UpThere is no federal anti-bullying law in this country, but there is a law in Scouting. The Scout Law reminds us to be friendly, courteous and kind.

Still, we’d be naive to think that bullying never happens in our organization. What’s important is that you, the trained adult, take time to recognize bullying and stop it.

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, so I’d like you to read nine signs your child is being bullied and eight signs your child is the bully himself or herself.

The source for this info is stopbullying.gov, a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website with a wealth of great resources.

9 signs your child is being bullied

  1. Unexplainable injuries
  2. Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  3. Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  4. Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  5. Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  6. Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  7. Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  8. Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  9. Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

8 signs your child is the bully

  1. Get into physical or verbal fights
  2. Have friends who bully others
  3. Are increasingly aggressive
  4. Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  5. Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  6. Blame others for their problems
  7. Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  8. Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

What to do next

If you see warning signs that your child is being bullied or is bullying others, take these next steps.

Other great resources

  • The BSA’s Cyber Chip, perfect for Scouts and Venturers of any age, includes a section on preventing cyberbullying.
  • The Troop Bully,” Scouting magazine’s award-winning story, has Scouting-specific ideas on preventing bullying.
  • Confessions of a Bully“: A Cub Scout ex-bully shares his lessons learned

Get the KnowBullying app for iPhone or Android

bullying-appThe app features:

  • Conversation Starters: Start easy, meaningful conversations with your children.
  • Tips: Learn strategies to prevent bullying for ages 3—6, 7—13, and teens.
  • Warning Signs: Recognize if your child is engaging in bullying, being bullied, or witnessing bullying.
  • Reminders: Talk with your child when the time feels right: a quiet moment on the way to school or a game, during dinner, or relaxing outside.
  • Social Media: Share successful strategies and useful advice via Facebook, Twitter, email, and text messages.
  • Section for Educators: Prevent bullying in the classroom and support children who are being bullied.

Get it on Google Play or the App Store.

Share what you know

If you have a story about bullying that you’re comfortable sharing, please do so in the comments. Others could learn from your experiences.


Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by Shek’s Aperture