Every child and young person has the right to learn in a safe and healthy environment free from bullying, harassment and intimidation in all forms. Unfortunately, bullying still happens inside and outside of school, but most cases are resolved quickly.

Bullying is harmful behaviours directed at one person or a group. It can include verbal, physical, psychological or socially harmful behaviours that can inflict harm, stress and injury. Children can feel discouraged from telling someone they trust about bullying for fear of things escalating or from worry or hopelessness that it won’t stop.

The difficulty of knowing if a child is being bullied, is one that worries parents, teachers and carers. But one or more changes in a child’s mood, physical appearance and behaviours could be an indicator that a child in your care is being bulled.

Recognising the warning signs early is a step closer to taking action to stop the bullying, but be aware that not all children show these signs. These signs could also be a sign of other issues in a young persons life.

We have put together 10 indicators you need to look out for:

  • 1. A change in sleeping patterns and frequent nightmares.
  • 2. Not wanting to attend school – making up excuses as to why they don’t want to go.

  • 3. Returning home from school with ripped clothing or broken belongings.
  • 4. Unexplained bruises, cuts and scratches on their body.
  • 5. Frequent headaches, sore stomach pains and possible fabrication of an illness.
  • 6. Irregular eating patterns, skipping meals, loss of appetite or returning from school hungrier than usual.
  • 7. Standards of schoolwork becoming poorer.
  • 8. Nervous and afraid to use their mobile phones/internet.
  • 9. Unexplained avoidance of regular social activities with usual friendship groups.
  • 10. Showing unusual aggression, being disruptive or unreasonable.

If you are worried because you are witnessing these behaviours – it’s a sign you should take action. Talk to the child, open and honestly, this will help you identify a problem early. Bullying is very rarely a complete secret.

Young people might not use the word bullying when telling you about things that made them sad, upset or worried at school. If a child in your care confides in you or you suspect something is wrong at school, having a gentle well-planned conversation can help.

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