Warning Signs that Your Kid Might be Getting Bullied

While you shouldn't micromanage your child's social life and friendships, there's one time, however, when you absolutely need to intervene: if you're concerned for your kid's physical or mental safety. Jodi Campbell, supervisor of public education at the mental health organization KidsPeace, worked with a couple whose 13-year-old son was having trouble sleeping. With a little prodding, they found out that a former friend not only had "dumped" their son, but also was encouraging others to bully him at school. Fortunately, the situation was resolved when the parents contacted the school.

If it's not an in-school issue, don't automatically call the other parents, says Campbell. "Regardless of where the problem happens, a guidance counselor is a good first resource," she says. "The school will tell you what they can and cannot do to help, and can often make very good suggestions." Other options include pediatricians, ministers or rabbis, therapists who specialize in adolescents, and reputable Web sites, such as teencentral.net, that offer anonymous advice for parents and teens. (Related: 7 Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew)

Signs that sadness is spiraling out of control include anxiety, a drop in grades, a child's avoiding school, and - in extreme cases - suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Loss of interest in his passions (soccer, video games) is another red flag - as is a blue mood that drags on too long. "A normal conflict blows over in a few weeks," says Campbell. "If problems persist longer than that, you may need to seek outside help." (Related: How to Get Your Teen to Listen)

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