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School Bullying

School bullying has always been a problem. This article will review what school bullying is, signs of being bullied, what to do if your teen is being bullied at school, signs of being a school bully, and what to do if your teen is a school bully.


It is probably safe to say that at some point in our early or late childhood, we have all had an encounter with a school bully in one form or another. Whether it was a friend, a sibling, a classmate or even ourselves being bullied, it is a memory we would rather not remember. Maybe we were a bully ourselves or knew someone that was.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 29.9% of American students were involved in some way with school bullying. Results showed that 10% of children reported being bullied, 13% reported being a school bully, and 6% reported being both bullied and being the bully. Findings also show that boys were more likely to be the bully and the one doing the bullying.

What is school bullying?

School bullying comes in several forms and includes things that we may tend to overlook. It involves someone or a group of individuals consistently and intentionally harming another by the following means.

  • Hitting or threatening (physical)
  • Teasing and name calling (verbal)
  • Spreading rumors, hurting someone's reputation or leaving someone out (social isolation)

Boys tend to fall into the first category more often. Girls will more likely do the verbal and mental bullying.

Signs of being bullied

Some signs of your child being bullied are more obvious than others. The physical signs are easier to see, but mental turmoil is more likely to be kept hidden. Staying alert and aware of your child's behavior at all times can make all the difference.

  • Not wanting to go to school (ex. Faking illness)
  • Grades beginning to fall
  • Depression, mood changes, low self-esteem
  • Complaints of headaches, stomach-aches and other pains
  • Sleeping problems
  • Changing normal routines to/from school to avoid situations
  • Unexplained damage to self (ex. Bruises) or clothing
  • Missing and/or damaged belongings
  • Eating problems
  • Attempted suicide

What to do if your teen is being bullied at school 

  1. Talk to your child - Try to get your child to open up as much as possible about what has been going on. The more information you have, the better prepared you are to address this situation with the correct authorities.
  2. Talk to the school - Many schools have no bullying tolerance rules. Unless the school knows about the bullying, they cannot be enforced. Many times teachers/principals are unaware of specific situations, so it's necessary to share any information you may have. Ask your school if they have a no bullying rule. If not, request that they get together to create one.
  3. Avoid situations - If bullying takes place in specific situations, have them change their routines to avoid the bullying. It also helps if the victim remains supervised as much as possible. Bullying is more likely to occur while the child is alone.

Signs of being a school bully

What if your child is the one doing the bullying at school? It can be just as devastating to this child's future as well. Statistics show that children who are bully's tend to exhibit other negative behaviors as well (stealing, vandalism, drug use, etc). Some possible signs are as follows:

  • Aggression
  • Likes to be in power
  • Lack of empathy towards others
  • Low self-control

What to do if your teen is a school bully

No one likes to think that their child may be a bully, but if you are faced with that situation there are some things you can do.

  • Talk to your child - Find out if there are things going on in your child's life that may be prompting this behavior.
  • Seek help - Arrange a meeting with your child's doctor or mental health professional. They are the people best prepared to deal with this type of situation. Children will usually open up more to someone other than a parent.

It is ultimately our responsibility as parents, teachers, friends and peers to look out for anyone that may be suffering. Keeping our eyes open and informing the necessary authorities is beneficial to all involved.


1. Tonja R. Nansel; Mary Overpeck; Ramani S. Pilla; W. June Ruan; Bruce Simons-Morton; Peter Scheidt Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment JAMA, Apr 2001; 285: 2094 - 2100
2. safeyouth.org
3. keepkidshealthy.com
4. stopbullyingnow.com
5. teen-matters.com
6. kidshealth.org
7. http://www.familyfirstaid.org/bullying.html

Related Article: Youth Violence >>

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