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The University of Alabama

UA Matters: How to Tell if Your Child is Being Bullied

Children can be bullied for many reasons. Some children are more likely to be targeted as victims if they differ from their peers because of disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, weight, physical appearance, athletic skills, race, religion, the income of their families or where they live.

The University of Alabama’s Dr. John E. Lochman shares some signs to look for in potential bullied victims. Children who are bullied are more likely:

  • to avoid school, to begin wanting to miss more school days and to be more likely to drop out of school in adolescence
  • to have declining academic achievement, including lower grades and achievement scores in math and reading
  • to have lower self-esteem and increasing levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness
  • to have physical evidence of bullying, including frequent unexplained bruises and torn clothing
  • to lack social support from their peers
  • to have thoughts of suicide, and to attempt suicide, both during childhood and later in life
  • to have, in some cases, increasing levels of impulsive aggression and to become more reactively angry to small slights, leading some children to be both bullies to some of their peers and victims with others

If you perceive that your child may be bullied, talk with the counselor and teachers at your child’s school. Seek assistance from mental health counselors in your community if the symptoms associated with bullying become more frequent and extreme.

Lochman is the director for the Center for Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems at UA.uamatters_logo-thumb

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.