Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied

publication date: Nov 14, 2022
author/source: Catherine Talbot

There are several signs that could indicate that your child is being bullied at school. It’s important to note that whilst these can often be signs of bullying, there may be other explanations, so it’s best to avoid jumping to conclusions until you have the full picture. Children are often reluctant to raise the issue with adults as well, fearing that the situation may get worse if they tell someone.

Physical Signs

The most visible and obvious signs of bullying are often physical injuries, such as cuts or bruises on your child, that indicate physical abuse. When asked, your child may not have an explanation for how these injuries occurred, or may offer a reason that doesn’t seem to fit with the injury.

There may be a reasonable, unconcerning explanation for these injuries, but it’s important to discuss them with your child and to raise them with the school. Physical abuse can quickly escalate, so it’s vital that you get on top of it quickly.

Emotional Signs

Changes in your child’s behaviour can also be a strong indicator that something isn’t right. For example:

  • are they isolating themselves from family and friends?
  • do they appear withdrawn and uncharacteristically quiet?
  • are they eating more or less than they were previously?

Any sudden changes in how your child behaves could be an indication of bullying. You know your child and how they usually act, so if their behaviour becomes unusual it’s worth speaking to them to try to encourage them to open up.

Academic Signs 

Your child may appear to be more anxious than usual about going to school, or say they are feeling unwell more often. Their academic performance may also decline, in the form of lower grades or feedback from teachers suggesting they’re underperforming.

You may also notice that personal items appear to be going missing unexplainably, lunch money is disappearing, or that their clothes or belongings are being damaged. If you do notice this is happening, raise the issue with the school to bring it to their attention and to help address the issue.

Onlne signs

Bullying is no longer just limited to school hours, and it’s increasingly common for children to experience bullying on social media and messaging platforms. Seemingly harmless emojis such as a frog can hide harmful subtext, in this case meaning that the recipient is ugly. Similarly, text abbreviations might look like nonsense to you, but could be deeply hurtful to your child. The abbreviation ‘182’ for example means ‘I hate you’.”

What to do if you think your child is being bullied 

Discuss the facts

Listen carefully

Support and reassure

Discourage retaliation

Control your own emotions

Raise the issue with the school


Catherine Talbot, is Education Learning Designer at the expert safeguarding course providers, High Speed Training.