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10 Warnings Signs of Bullying

teen boy with curly hair on phone learning about the signs of bullying

Most people have experienced some form of teasing as children or teens, and sometimes, that behavior can lead to bullying. However, parents and guardians today may not see the warning signs of bullying behavior, and their teens may not always tell them that they’re being bullied. Teen treatment programs for bullying can help your children process the pain they feel from being bullied, but what would help young adults like them more is school staff members and parents constantly looking for signs of a bully—because those being bullied may feel unable to tell people about it.

Adults who are school staff members, parents, guardians, and authority figures should consistently reinforce that bullying behavior is unacceptable. They should take steps to make schools and other community spaces bully-free and free from real or perceived power imbalances. Bullies seem to be stronger than their victims, either physically or due to their age, popularity, or another hierarchical factor. Adults should seek to dismantle perceived power imbalances like this before bullying behavior becomes a regular occurrence.

Looking for teen treatment programs for bullying in Colorado? Contact Imagine Fort Collins today by calling 888.291.2309 or reaching out to our team online.

What Are the Warning Signs of Bullying?

1. Begins Bullying Younger Friends, Cousins, or Siblings

Some bullied teens may take out their frustrations on those younger than them, becoming a bully themselves. Teens who feel disliked or unsupported, sometimes due to being bullied, may try to bully others to gain some social control.

2. Changes in Appearance or Reactions to Stress

Teens who begin dressing differently or changing something they once liked about their looks may be doing so in reaction to being bullied. They may also display reactions to stressful situations that are new. Sometimes, they may also fake being sick to stay home from school because they want to avoid their bullies.

3. Changes in Online Behavior

Cyberbullying can be just as damaging as physical bullying. If a teen used to enjoy using the internet and texting friends and now uses digital devices less or seems upset after looking at them, it could be a sign that they’re being cyberbullied. A teen who quickly hides their smartphone or slams their laptop shut when a parent or guardian walks into the room they’re in could also be trying to hide online attacks on them.

4. Changes in Personality

Many once-happy teens can become moody, sullen, or withdrawn when they’re being bullied. Parents and guardians may assume that these personality changes are due to normal teen angst, but the cause could actually be bullying at school.

5. Has Nightmares or Trouble Sleeping

This warning sign of bullying is actually more commonly observed in children—younger kids may even start bedwetting. However, any changes in sleeping patterns in teens should be taken into consideration and perhaps should be brought up, at least during health checkups or meeting with their teachers.

6. Headaches or Stomachaches

As mentioned earlier, bullied teens often begin having physical reactions to stressful situations that they didn’t have before. Stomachaches and headaches are typical new physical reactions that parents and guardians may think are due to other reasons, but they may be the result of consistent bullying.

7. Physical Signs

If new physical reactions to stress can go unnoticed by parents and guardians, then physical signs of bullying may be easier to spot. Bruises, cuts, scratches, sprains, and even broken bones that happen at school may indicate that a teen is being bullied. However, these physical signs may still go unnoticed by parents and guardians because teens may hide them to avoid confrontation about being bullied.

8. Damaged, Lost, or Stolen Possessions

If a teen comes home missing a valuable item, such as their smartphone, tablet, or even their shoes, it could be a sign that a bully is stealing from them or damaging their possessions. This is a sign of bullying that definitely needs to be taken up with school authorities, although a teen may initially be unwilling to talk about the bullying situation or even name their bully.

9. Suddenly Doesn’t Want To Go to School or Ride the Bus

An unexplained reluctance to go to school or ride their typical school bus is definitely an indication that something is wrong. If your teen is being bullied in school or when they’re on their school bus, they may try to avoid being in those places as much as possible.

10. Unusually Hungry After School

Like trouble sleeping, this warning sign of bullying is more commonly seen in children rather than in teens. However, if your teen wants to eat more than a snack immediately after coming home from school, they could be skipping lunch at the school cafeteria to avoid being bullied there. They may also have a bully that steals their money, so they can’t buy lunch for themselves.

What Are the Signs of a Bully?

As mentioned earlier, adults should also know how to spot a bully because bullied teens may not feel safe or secure enough to tell them about what they’re experiencing. While it’s harder to spot bullies compared to spotting their victims, it’s still worth keeping your eyes and ears open.

Signs that a teen is bullying others include the following:

  • They repeatedly upset people around them
  • They display a lack of empathy
  • They display aggressive behavior
  • They thrive around insecure people
  • They may spread malicious rumors about others
  • They misuse their perceived power or social position

Find Out More About Imagine Fort Collins’s Teen Treatment Programs for Bullying

If you’re searching for teen treatment programs for bullying in Colorado, contact Imagine Fort Collins today. Call 888.291.2309 or reach out to our team online.