Effects of Bullying
The effects of bullying on a developing child are difficult for the developing child. The child will often feel lonely, isolated and unsafe.
Bullying affects the way children form relationships as adolescents and adults. It can lead substance abuse and depression. In The Social Outcast, a 2005 study of bullying, the authors agree that bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, low self esteem and susceptibility to illness.
Bullying can kill as well. In 2002, the US Secret Service concluded that many school shootings were rooted in bullying. Bullying can cause suicide.
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Effects of Bullying Signs
- If your child shows —
- bruises and other physical signs
- invented illnesses such as stomach and headaches to avoid school
- has missing belongings or money
- sleeping problems
- bed wetting
- poor concentration
- unexpected changes in routine
- problems with schoolwork
If you notice several of these signs, suspect bullying.
For help with child self esteem and to counter the effects, go to Child Self Esteem and Building Child Self Esteem
Seven Effects of Bullying and How to Help
- Observe and be a good listener for your child.
- Be in tune with him or her.
- Show your love and support.
- Avoid adding to the burden by becoming angry or by letting your child see how upset you are.
- Validate your child's feelings. Don't minimize them.
- Reassure your child that he or she isn't to blame.
- Help your child understand that bullies are often confused or unhappy people who don't feel good about themselves.
Questions you may ask your child
1. What's it like walking to the bus stop or home from school?
2. What's it like on the bus ride to and from school?
3. What happens on the playground during recess or before or after school?
4. What happens in the hallways at school or during lunchtime?
5. Have any kids in the neighborhood or at school threatened anyone you know?
6. Do some kids you know get emails, instant messages, or text messages that are upsetting, threatening, or insulting?
Artwork such as drawing and puppet making may encourage younger children to talk about their experiences and also counter the effects of bullying. Older children may open up more with direct questions around who are and aren’t their friends.
More Bullying Effects and How to Give Support
The key to helping your child deal with the effects of bullying is to help him or her regain a sense of dignity and recover damaged self-esteem. Give him or her some strategies. You might even practice these at home with sisters and brothers.
- Advise your child to avoid anger An emotional reaction to bullying gives the bully a feeling of power and will reinforce the bullying. Bullies need to know they have control over your child's emotions.
- Avoid bullying back It’s not safe for your child to use physical force — kicking, hitting, or pushing to deal with a bully. A physical reaction shows anger but also your child can’t be sure of the bully’s response.
Advise your child to hang out with others kids if possible and to get help from a trusted adult. Give your child a list of these supportive adults so he’ll feel safer and more confident knowing where to find help even before the bullying starts.
- Walk away. Ignore the bully Advise your child to look the bully in the eye and say something like, "I want you to stop right now." Counsel him to walk away and ignore further taunts. Encourage him to walk tall and to hold his or her head high. This type of body language sends a message that your child isn't vulnerable.
Role play the above action with your child. Bravery will take practice. Let your child know that he or she might not feel brave on the inside yet. But that he can look brave on the outside and fool the bully. This will lessen the effects of bullying.
Bullies thrive on the victim’s reaction. By walking away or by ignoring hurtful emails or instant messages, your child will be giving the message that she doesn't care. Eventually the bully will get bored and find another victim.
- Use humor If your child can’t walk away with practiced confidence, suggest that he try another tactic such as humor or offering the bully a compliment to throw him off guard. Advise your child not to make fun of the bully.
- Talk about the bullying Go with your child to talk to a guidance counselor, a favorite teacher or find a friend anyone who will support your child . Talking can is good therapy and a good outlet for fears and frustrations.
- Use the buddy system Enlist the help of friends group to help your child and others stand up to bullies. The bully needs recognition and power. So bullying usually happens in the presence of peers.
Create a plan with your child to pair up with another friend on the way to school, on the bus, in the hallways, at recess or lunch — wherever your child might meet the bully.
- Increase your child’s social network by joining him in clubs or sports programs. Encourage play sessions with other children in your home. Helping your child become more social will build his self-esteem and give him needed support at school.
- Intervene if bullying persists. Have an older child accompany yours to school. Arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher, school counselor or principal. Make sure your child is safe. Don’t be hesitant to take further action if necessary.
The effects of bullying can be serious for your child. If you suspect that your child is a victim, don’t assume it will go away. It could get worse. Check out the sites below for help. There is lots of help out there for you. There is a lot of media attention on the issue now and programs are improving.
What is bullying?
Go from Effects of Bullying to Bullying
Go to Self Esteem Home Page