Is Your Child Being Bullied?
Courtesy of the Colorado Anti-Bullying Project

The Colorado Anti-Bullying Project provides the following warning signs that may denote your child is being bullied:


  • Comes home from school with torn, damaged, or missing clothing, books, and belongings.
  • Has unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, and scratches.
  • Doesn't bring friends home after school or spend time at their homes.
  • Seems isolated from other kids and may not have good friends to share time with.
  • Appears to be fearful about attending school, walking to and from school, or riding the bus.
  • Chooses a longer or unusual route for going to and from school.
  • Has a poor appetite, headaches and stomachaches especially before school.
  • Asks for or takes extra money from their family members.
  • Appears anxious, distressed, unhappy, depressed, or tearful when they come home from school or shows unexpected mood shifts, irritability, or sudden outbursts of temper.
  • Has problems sleeping.
  • Loses interest in school work and shows a decline in academic performance.
  • Talks about or attempts suicide.

When a child is bullied, he/she tends to fall into one of two categories: The Passive Victim and the Provocative Victim. The “passive victim” signals to others by his/her attitudes and behaviors that he/she is an insecure individual who will not retaliate if victimized, while the “provocative victim” is characterized by having both anxious and aggressive patterns.

Parents of bullied children do not have to stand by helplessly. There are many courses of action that can be taken. The following tips are recommended by the Colorado Anti-Bullying Project:

Encourage your child to share problems with you. Assure him/her that this is not tattling. Realize that your child may be embarrassed, ashamed, and fearful, so you may have to ask directly. Listen attentively and reassure him or her that he/she will not have to face the problem alone.

Praise your child for his/her accomplishments and differences. A confident child is less likely to be targeted by bullies.

Search for talents and positive attributes that can be developed in your child, which may making asserting him/herself easier.

Help your child make friends. Arrange play dates with other kids or encourage your child to join groups, clubs, or take lessons.

Encourage your child to participate in sports or physical activity. Physical exercise can result in better physical coordination and can also increase your child's self-esteem.

Talk to your child about strategies for dealing with the bully. Practicing scenarios with your child could help build confidence.

If the bullying is happening on the way to and from school, accompany your child or arrange for alternate transportation. Work with other parents to ensure that the children in your neighborhood are supervised closely.

Maintain contact with your child's school. Make sure your child is safe by finding out whether the monitoring at school is adequate. Ask for a conference with school administrators and the bully's parents. Keep a detailed record of bullying episodes and related communication with the school. Be informed about how the situation is being handled, or help develop a plan of action for the school to follow.

Seek help from a mental health professional.

For more information on the Colorado Anti-Bullying Project, visit:



The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence
By Barbara Coloroso

Easing the Teasing: Helping Your Child Cope with Name-Calling, Ridicule, and Verbal Bullying
By Judy S. Freedman

Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems
By Michael Thompson and Lawrence J. Cohen