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How to Identify Kids Who Are Bullied

written by: Margie • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 2/16/2012

Many children who are bullied do not tell their teachers or parents out of fear or intimidation. Learn to recognize some characteristics of bullied children in your class and how to appropriately deal with the situation.

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    At some point during your teaching career, you will help a child who is being bullied. Many victims of bullying are so terrified of their bully that they suffer in silence.So it is up to you, the teacher, to recognize a child who is being victimized and to act on your observations.

    Many children who are victims of bullying display some of the following characteristics.

    Physical Signs

    The most obvious type of victim is one that is pushed and punched, and does not or cannot defend him or herself. This type of physical intimidation is usually the easiest to recognize, but often times it happens when there are no adults nearby. That is why it is important to look for another sign of victimization, which is torn clothing and/or bumps and bruises that cannot be easily explained. If you notice these signs often, it is time to step in and do something.

    Emotional Symptoms

    Just as painful, if not as recognizable, is emotional bullying. If you notice a child that is being constantly teased and taunted, that child is a victim of bullying. No one likes to be made fun of and it can particularly detrimental to children.

    Social Symptoms

    Many times victims of bullying seem to not have any friends. If you notice a child in you class who appears friendless, keep a close eye on him or her. They could be withdrawing due to fear, intimidation, and low self-esteem resulting from being bullied.

    Victims of bullies often seem anxious and insecure. They may have trouble speaking up in class. Of course, these are the same characteristics many shy children possess, so it is important to be aware and observant so you do not inadvertently see a problem that is not there.

    Academic Problems

    Sometimes, children who have recently become victims of bullying show a decline in their school work. Their grades may suffer. Like insecurity, a sudden drop in grades does not mean the child is being bullied, but it is a warning sign to be aware of.

    Many times we think of victims of bullying as sweet, quiet children that are too shy to defend themselves and we are instinctively protective of them. This is not always the case. Sometimes victims of bullying have rather irritating habits and it may even be hard for the teacher to like them. Even if this is the case, teachers must be vigilant and allow no child to be taken advantage of, regardless of the situation.

4 Part Series on Bullying

This four part series on bullying addresses buly prevention, recognizing bullying behavior and looks at why some children turn to bullying.
  1. Be On the Lookout: Bullying in the Classroom
  2. A Teacher's Guide to Spotting a Bully
  3. How to Identify Kids Who Are Bullied
  4. Tips & Strategies to Help Prevent Bullying in Your Classroom