"It's hard to talk to people, it's incredibly hard," 14-year-old Genevieve said. "People just say, 'Oh you're being bullied speak up, talk about it go to a counselor.' But it's not that simple."
Bullying is complicated.
Children and teens targeted by bullies say they're sometimes embarrassed to talk about it, worried about a parent's reaction, or even think they deserve it. Just because your child doesn't speak up about bullying doesn't mean it isn't happening.
Here are ten warning signs your child is being bullied:
It’s normal for kids, especially teens, to put some distance between parents. But keep an eye on if your child is disconnecting from previously enjoyable social situations.
2. Mood swings
We’re not talking about talking back typical teenage angst. If your child is experiencing mood swings, appearing depressed or teary, or is uncharacteristically angry, this could be sign of a bigger problem outside the home.
3. Begins bullying siblings or younger kids
Bullied children can sometimes flip roles and become the bully, especially with younger siblings, in order to feel empowered and in control.
4. Makes up excuses for missing school
This includes students who frequently visit the school nurse or ditch school, too. Take a look and see if there is a pattern to the absences. It could be a way your child is trying to avoid a particular person or situation.
5. Complains of headaches, stomach aches and fatigue
Depression can often cause physical pain. Chronic stress and anxiousness can also lead to sleep problems, nightmares and even bedwetting in some children.
6. Changes in eating habits
Suddenly skipping meals or binge eating can be an indication that something is wrong. Bullies also tend to extort other children by stealing their lunch or lunch money.
7. Shuts down social media
This could be a sign of cyber bullying. Ask your child why they are avoiding their computer or cell phone and pay attention if they get tense or uncomfortable when answering the question
8. Damaged or missing property
Ripped clothing could be a sign of physical bullying. Missing toys, school supplies or money may indicate your child is being pressured to give up their possessions unwillingly.
Immediately notify school officials if you notice new or unexplained cuts, bruises and scrapes.
10. Fear of being left alone
Be aware if your child is suddenly clingy during drop-off, before leaving for the bus or asks for you to be there immediately after school dismissal.
There are many different kinds of bullying. Some of it's obvious, and some of it's more subtle. Bullying is always an intentional, aggressive and repeated behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Stompoutbullying.org has dozens of resources for both parents and kids on how to deal with bullying.