Teen bullying is a big problem that is often poorly understood by parents. Stop teen bullying before it takes a serious toll by identifying the following signs of teen bullying and taking appropriate action. Bullies and their victims aren’t always forthcoming about the experience, so intervention may be necessary to get to the heart of the matter.
Signs of Being Bullied
- Unexplained injuries. If a child is uncomfortable talking about such injuries, that is a likely sign of teen bullying.
- Damaged or missing personal items. Basically, look for signs of a fight.
- Mood swings. If a child seems unaccountably upset about average or normal circumstances, or reacts in evasive and extreme fashion to questions, they may be hiding something.
- Disrupted sleeping patterns. A child internalizing the stress of being bullied is likely to miss sleep as a result. They may appear tired or grumpy.
- Loss of self-esteem.
- Poor academic performance. It’s hard to equate fluctuations in school work with one specific thing in teens, but teen bullying is a likely culprit.
- Self-destructive behavior.
Signs of a Teen Bully
Identifying a teen bully is frequently easier than recognizing someone who is the victim of teen bullying. Bullies often broadcast their reputation in order to intimidate others, while victims hide in shame. Here are some signs that a child is a teen bully.
- Aggression and fighting are a bully’s response to everyday situations. Bullies generally use their behavior as a way of getting attention or inappropriately inflating their self-esteem. Teen bullying isn’t isolated to peer-to-peer interactions. They can display this behavior with family members and in public, as well.
- Trouble with authority figures. A child who is frequently disciplined or spends time in the principal’s office may be bullying others.
- Unexplained acquisitions. Are they strutting around with new clothes or money? In the absence of gifts or a job, bullying or stealing is a possibility.
- Adopt a mentality of blame and victimization. It seems counterintuitive that a teen bully would play the part of the victim. These teens frequently externalize their responsibilities to other parties and blame them for any shortcomings. It’s a disconcerting and misleading mentality that can convince an adult that teen bullies are the ones being persecuted.
How to Proceed with Teen Bullying
Of course, any of these symptoms alone are not necessarily an indicator of teen bullying. Even several of them together might be signs of something else. Before confronting a child outright about teen bullying, make sure to identify a pattern of bullying. Talk to other adults, students, and teachers to verify the presence of bullying.
Addressing the issue with a child on either side of teen bullying is difficult. They are likely to be dismissive and elusive with the truth. Displaying compassion to bullies and victims alike is crucial to working towards a solution. Bullies and victims are dealing with some very weighty issues for a teen to deal with.
Being a teen is hard enough without the added stress of teen bullying. Before you start a dialog with a teen about these matters, talk to a counselor and do some research on the best strategy. Teens have a difficult time opening up to adults, regardless of the issue.
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