03/08/2011 10:24 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The School Bullying Checklist: 7 Signs Your Child May Be A Victim

7 Signs That Your Child May Be A Victim Of Bullying At School

School bullying continues to be on the rise and is happening at earlier ages. In a recent survey, at least seven out of 10 students claim that they have been bullied at least once at school, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And more than half of all bullying incidents -- mental, verbal or physical -- go unreported.

As a parent, how do you know if your child is a victim of bullying? There are some definite warning signs to watch for. The following are seven potential indicators of being bullied:

1. A drastic drop in grades: In many instances of bullying, the victim constantly feels fearful, apprehensive or even terrorized. He or she is more focused on when the next bullying will occur, rather than on the information being presented by the teacher. Class work and tests begin to suffer due to this lack of concentration.

2. Being mean to younger siblings: Because of being bullied, many elementary students will take out their frustrations on younger siblings. You might begin to notice threats, destroying a sibling's toy or a drawing, or shoving.

3. Claims to be sick: If your child asks to stay home from school frequently, but doesn't appear to be sick, he might be being bullied. If his attitude toward school is negative or he insists that you pick him up rather than riding the bus, investigate the situation.

4. Unexplained bruises or injuries: Although all kids will experience bumps and bruises from time to time, if you begin to notice such injuries and your child won't tell you how they happened, this could be a sign of bullying.

5. Asking to bring his lunch: Many bullying incidences occur at lunch time. If your child no longer wants to buy his lunch or is demanding a certain type of sandwich or chips, he might be being forced to hand over his lunch or money to a bully.

6. Sudden mood changes: When being a victim of bullying, a child is under a lot of emotional and mental stress. He just wants to make it through the day and arrive back home. Once home however, as a way of releasing the stress, his emotions are like a wild roller coaster ride. You don't know what's coming with the next turn.

7. Change in sleeping or eating habits: The trauma of being bullied can cause a child to lose his appetite or to begin binge eating. He may experience sleepless nights and suffer from nightmares.

What should you do if you recognize some of these signs in your child? You should first determine if your child is a victim of bullying. A good place to start is the National Crime Prevention Council's website on bullying, which reminds parents, above all, to take the issue seriously.