11 Signs that a Bully is Targeting Your Child

Family Matters on 05.13.11

Photo: katinalynn/Creative Commons 

With more and more stories of bullied students committing suicide hitting the news each month -- most recently, two eighth-grade girls from Minnesota who made a suicide pact  -- CNN enlisted anti-bullying activist Jodee Blanco, author of "Please Stop Laughing at Me..." to help parents identify signs that bullies are targeting their child.

Blanco points to two types of bullying: The first, overt, includes more obvious behavior -- like teasing and name-calling -- and the second results in kids being treated like they don't even exist: They're left out of activities and ignored completely.

Some behaviors to watch for:

Inexplicable fits of rage; overreaction to normal, daily frustrations; extreme makeover attempts; despondency or depression; faking illness; change in grades; impaired immune system; sudden change in weight; and moodiness

And if you do think your child is a victim of bullying, says Blanco, don't get so caught up in contacting school officials and punishing the bully that you forget to help your child. "Your priority is to find a new social outlet for your child," she says, "someplace where he or she can engage in an organized activity with other kids the same age and forge meaningful friendships completely outside of school."

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