Bullying can be a hard thing to understand, especially if you were never bullied as a child. For your teenager, however, it can be very devastating. Not only does your teen feel hurt, but they can often feel alone, depressed, frightened and undermined. Bullying is not something that should be a rite of passage for anyone. If you think that your teenager is being bullied there are steps you can take to deal with the problem.
What is bullying?
Bullying can come in many aggressive forms such as verbal, physical or relational. When girls bully it’s usually verbal while boys will use physical threats and actions. Whatever form is used it can make your teenager feel:
- Hurt, angry, helpless, afraid, isolated and ashamed. Bullying that happens long term can often make teenagers feel suicidal.
- Physical health diminishes; it can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and PTSD.
Why Does Bullying Occur?
Bullying is not uncommon; research suggests that 25% of kids experience it in their lifetime, so your teen may not be the only one. Bullies usually target someone based off of a social standing within a peer group or your appearance.
Bullies tend to focus on people who are seen as “different” or who may not fit in with a certain crowd. It could be due to the way your teen dresses or acts. It could be as simple as being the new kid in school.
Tips for Overcoming Bullying
There is no simple formula for handling a bully – You may have to try many strategies before you find the one that works. It’s key however to retain your self-control when dealing with a bully as a bully is typically looking for a reaction.
Understand what bullying is all about – Walking away from a bully is the best course of action. Bullies are looking for control over your emotions. By walking away you show that you are the one in control.
Always report bullying to an adult – Bullying can often progress to physical violence if it goes unreported. Adults have more power to help and can usually remove the situation without the bully knowing he/she was reported.
You may have to do these more than once as bullies can be repetitive.
Develop a support system with people who don’t bully – Having people in your life that you can turn to for support and encouragement can help you a great deal. Find friends who share the same interest and values as you do. Share your feelings with a parent or counsellor if things get tough.
What Parents and Teachers Can Do To Stop Bullying
You may not realize it but you can play a huge role in ending bullying for a teenager. By creating stress free environments at home and at school you can relieve the anxiety associated with bullying. Bullying is a widespread problem and yet there are still many misconceptions both teachers and parents have about bullying.
How to spot the signs that a teenager is being bullied
Bullying isn’t always obvious to adults as it oftentimes occurs in hallways or on the way home from school. Bullies typically will try to hide their behaviour from an adult, not only that but victims often hide evidence due to shame.
Taking the steps to stop bullying
Talk to your teen about bullying – Just the act of talking about bullying with your teen can cause anxiety to disappear. Listen to your child’s feelings without judgment and be supportive.
Limit things that go to school – If your teen is experiencing bullying due to what they have, then remove the problem by sending a packed lunch instead of money or leave all gadgets such as phones and iPod’s at home.
Find some help – If your child is afraid of a bully, the last thing you want is for them to miss school over the issue. Make sure that teachers and coaches are aware that your child is being bullied. No teen should have to deal with the issue alone.
Make sure your teen is not isolated – Teenagers who have a good group of friends are usually better equipped to handle bullying. Find even more ways to increase their social circle through groups or clubs.
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