Bullying Signs & Symptoms

Children who are being bullied may not tell a parent/caregiver or other adult, so it is important to be aware of possible warning signs. Some of these behaviors may appear vague or may not immediately seem connected with bullying. Signs of bullying include:  

  • Unexplained injuries.
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry.
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick, or faking illness.
  • Changes in eating habits, such as suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school.
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations.
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem.
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.

Signs of bullying specific to children with food allergies may include:

  • Avoiding certain areas. For example, a student may avoid eating in certain areas of the school cafeteria, avoid eating at certain times, or not eating at all during school.
  • Lunchbox repeatedly coming home full, indicating possible food avoidance.
  • Changes in behavior, such as risky eating behaviors by a child who was once a careful label reader.


35 percent of children with food allergies reported being bullied, teased, or harassed due to food allergies, and 65 percent of these children reported being depressed and embarrassed because of the bullying.

Mount Sinai Study: Finds that children with food allergies are targeted by bullies