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Sometimes, words can hurt deeper than any injury. Falling off your bike can sting, but when a friend or loved one teases you, feelings can get just as bruised. With bullying, a minor situation can suddenly escalate into something more.
Bullying is more than your brother making fun of your hair. Bullying can cause all types of mental and physical issues which can lead the victim down a dark hole, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are some ways bullying can affect your child and what to do about it if it happens.
Prevalence of bullying
Adolescence is a hard time in a child’s life. As a parent, it can be difficult, too. You watch them grow from small children who always need you to teenagers who can do things on their own.
Dealing with feelings can be difficult for an older child, though. An important tip is to pay attention to your child’s behavior. Sudden mood swings can mean more than just a bad day at school.
Bullying is a growing issue across the nation. Thanks to social media and more online activities, cyberbullying is now becoming more apparent in daily lives, as well. About 43 percent of kids claim to have been bullied online. One in ten of these children tells a parent about it.
Fake accounts can be created to catfish your child to develop a relationship with them. Many times these aren’t the person they claim to be. It can end up being someone getting revenge for something that occurred in your child’s social circle.
Realizing the signs
Kids who are bullied may start to complain about being sick to avoid school. Your child may actually experience a physical toll like headaches, stomach pains, and anxiety. It can cause depression which can lead to drugs, drinks, and self-harm.
Some kids withdraw from social events, stop talking to friends, and can even blow up at any minute when something is said that they don’t like. Bullying of any kind can affect anyone mentally, especially a child.
Communication with your child is important. Developmental years are difficult for kids in many ways between school, friends, and dating. They may not be as open with you as you would like.
Dealing with bullying
Enforcing extremely strong rules may not always be a good choice and can even backfire. Rules your seven-year-old follows are probably not going to work well for your preteen.
Altering conditions and house rules give you both the opportunity to discuss health habits regarding computer and smart device usage. Always let your child know you are supportive and willing to talk about anything. Pressuring your child may have the opposite effect, causing them to pull away from you.
Being kind but firm shows your child you are still in control but also how much you love them. Validating and discussing what happened in a calm voice can keep a situation from escalating in a negative way.
Taking them to see someone can benefit in such a situation. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, can be a good method to help your child through these difficult times. With bullying often comes a response of behaviors including depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, and more.
A therapist can help your child overcome the negative emotions that result from bullying. For example, they can offer coping mechanisms or even help them find ways to speak up about bullying with either teachers or parents. They can even offer a safe space to openly discuss their feelings to fully understand and analyze their thoughts.
Bullying has, unfortunately, become common practice in today’s society, but parents, teachers, and caregivers don’t have to remain dormant in their response. If you notice a child is withdrawing or exhibiting reclusive behaviors, it may be time to have an open dialogue with them.
It is also definitely worth consulting with a therapist and scheduling a visit. They may be able to reach your child when you can’t.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.