Tell-tale Signs of Bullying

Bullying has been a rampant issue regarding any society with a social hierarchy. It is the act of abusing and harassing the weak members of society for no particular reason other than to showcase the dominance of the one doing the act. And in a society as enclosed as classrooms and schools, bullying is more prevalent and noticeable than ever.

Numerous anti-bullying laws have been implemented in order for this issue to be mitigated and the number of cases to lower. This has somehow lowered the number of bullying cases in schools which shows a positive outcome to the government’s efforts to lower the cases of bullying. However, bullying still occurs within schools discretely. And if you are not careful to notice the small details that may hint to any possible bullying, the damage may have already been dealt.

Why bullying occurs

The act of bullying has been observed even in groups of chimpanzees and other closely related ape species. The weak members of the group are often mistreated by the rest of the group due to the fact that they cannot fight back. This is used to showcase the supremacy of the healthy members of the group as opposed to those who are relatively weak and to stop the genes of the weak members from spreading and causing more weak members of the group.

However, we have moved on from such lifestyles thousands of years ago ever since we have moved from a hunter-gatherer society and into an agrarian one. Bullying in this day and age is often a by-product of various propaganda campaigns and how the bully was raised.

The constant media reminder that “the strong dominates the weak” found in most movies and television shows often lead to a child developing that same mentality. Other factors that might cause why bullying occurs is when the bully is raised in an environment where bullying is rampant, and thus, adapts the same behaviour and thinks of bullying as a natural occurrence.

Effects of bullying

Bullying is not only limited to social isolation and verbal abuse as shown in most movies. There will be times when the bullying is only mild. However, there are also instances of extreme acts of bullying often leading to physical harm.

1. Physical effects

The physical effects of bullying are undoubtedly one of the easiest effects to be noticed. Bruises or wounds caused by physical abuse may be a bit over the top, but they are possible. These could either be caused by the bully himself or are self-inflicted by the bullied.

The physical effects of bullying will most likely be hidden by the bullied so as to not make the bullying noticeable. They will often pretend that it was just caused by an accident to keep the issue from escalating and to keep the bullying from getting worse.

2. Emotional effects

The emotional effects of bullying may not be as noticeable as the physical effects, but these are often the effects that take the most time to heal. As humans are emotional beings, we tend to let emotions dictate a portion of our decisions. But if this aspect is damaged due to bullying, it would be really hard to get it back to the way it used to be.

Depression and anxiety are common after effects of bullying which will be experienced by victims. The constant disheartened state that they experience will be with them until they seek professional help. The worst case scenario would be suicidal attempts and destructive behaviour which could cause serious harm to the victims and the people around them.

3. Mental effects

The mental effects of bullying come hand in hand with the emotional effects in a sense that they are not as easily noticed by simply looking at the victim. A change in mentality can only be noticed if you are very close to the victim, otherwise you would hardly notice any difference in their behaviour at all.

These effects may include a loss of interest in the activities they used to enjoy. An example would be the reluctance to involve themselves in dancing, singing, performance, games, or any other activity they used to be fond of. Their metal state changes and they willingly become a wallflower due to the bullying that they experience.

4. Academic effects

One other effect of bullying that takes a lot of time to notice (a whole semester) is the academic effects. When a person has been depressed about the bullying they experienced and are no longer interested in the things the used to enjoy, they are most likely to not put any more effort into studying as well.

Even the top scorer in a class could fall below the median or even lower if they experience bullying. A decrease in academic performance could indicate other problems as well such as any developing destructive behaviour that could seriously harm the victim.

Tell-tale signs of bullying

Bullying is no laughing matter as it has a lot of negative effects and could seriously cause harm to the victim. And unless you are with your child 24/7, you will have a hard time determining whether your child is being bullied. So how do you know if your child is being bullied? Here are 6 tell-tale signs that your child is experiencing bullying.

1. Unexpected injuries

Physical injuries are a double edged sword for most parents. On one side, it will allow you to confirm that your child is being bullied and can start to act up to prevent any further incidents. But on the other hand, it will also mean that the bullying has been going on for some time now that is has led to physical harm.

Physical harm could also be self-inflicted by the bullied due to emotional and mental stress caused by the bullying incidents. This would mean that while physical injuries are the best indicators to determine that your child is being bullied, it is also the worst possible way to discover that your child is being bullied. So always watch out for small and minor injuries such as scratches and bruises before they turn into wounds.  

2. Declining grades

Another way to determine if your child is being bullied is when their academic performance declines steadily for no particular reason. This could indicate that either your child has difficulties catching up to the rest of the class, or that he is being bullied.

If you ask your child the reason for his/her declining grades and he/she answers the former then there are a lot of ways to help him catch up to his class such as hiring a tutor from Singapore’s leading home tuition agency: FamilyTutor.

However, if your child responds with the latter or that he/she is clearly avoiding the question. Then it might be a sign that your child is being bullied. It is common for the smart children to be the object of envy for most bullies as they cannot trade blow for blow with them. So if your child is one of the class’ top achievers but is slowly falling from grace, then you can bet that there is something fishy going on.

3. Changes in eating habits

There are a lot of things that could lead to your child’s change in eating habits, and bullying is one of them. While extortion of food may be a bit far-fetched and extreme, it could still happen and cause your child to increase his/her intake of food during breakfast or dinner to make up for their extorted food during lunch.

Bullying could also cause serious mental stress to your child, and one of the most effective ways to relieve stress is binge eating. This could also be one of the reasons why your child suddenly eats like he/she hasn’t eaten for days.

The reverse could also be true where your child will lose the will and enthusiasm to eat. This could be due to emotional issues caused by bullying such as depression.

4. Self-destructive behavior

If your child was previously the well-behaved one but suddenly became rebellious and developed ay destructive behaviour it could be more complicated than a simple “phase”. While hormones and adolescence can be blamed for a change in behaviour for your child, developing destructive behaviours is not caused by your child’s growing body.

Developing these behaviours may be your child’s way of coping with the bullying which he/she has experienced. These behaviours include, but are not limited to: staying up late at night, extensive gaming, sudden use of foul language, anger issues, and many more. These behaviours could seriously damage the relationship of the victim and those around him/her and could hint to any possible bullying.

5. Nervousness when using social media

Bullying is no longer limited to where the bully and the victim has physical contact. A new form of bullying has been rampant especially in these times of the pandemic: cyber-bullying. This is where the bully harasses the victim through threats which could result to the victim being afraid of the internet.

When your child shows hesitation when opening messages or using the internet, this could be a sign that your child has been experiencing cyber-bullying. This sign is not as noticeable as physical indications of bullying which is why it is of great importance to be o the look-out for when your child displays this sign.

6. Suicidal jokes

A little humour doesn’t hurt anybody, unless that humour is too dark to be taken leniently. Victims of bullying often make jokes regarding ending one’s life as a sign that they need help. As a parent, it is your responsibility to notice what lies beyond your child’s seemingly ominous joke.

Suicidal jokes should never be taken lightly. Once your child makes these kinds of jokes, you should ask what the problem is to make sure that it was purely humour and nothing else. Every second you spend brushing off these kinds of jokes could be a second too late to save your child.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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