Get alerts for negative social media interactions through our new HeadsUp platform.
Get a two-week free trial, plus 30% off your chosen plan.
Fat bullying is just one of the many reasons that a child is being picked on by one or more peers. Especially as a child enters the teen years, he or she is going to be more susceptible to bullying. The bullying as it relates to being overweight can lead to children feeling as though they need to slim down – and this can lead to various eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.
Bullying can be:
Bullying can take place anywhere at any time. While fat bullying typically takes place in school and in the schoolyard, it can be seen outside of the educational system as well, though it isn’t as common. If you have a child that is being bullied because he or she is considered overweight, there are things that you can do.
Is it really that your child is getting bullied because of some extra pounds? Probably not. Your child may become the target of bullying because of being popular, successful, rich, quiet, or any other characteristic that could threaten the livelihood of the bully. Your child may not be fat at all – and the bully uses the term “fat” to help your child feel less than equal simply because the bully is pressing his or her own problems onto your child.
Bullying is usually done to build someone else up. While a bully is building him or herself up, however, it can lead to depression and a shattered self-confidence of the person being bullied – which could be your child. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness, withdrawal, fragility and even anger. Every child is going to respond to bullying in a different manner – and you need to be able to identify the signs in order to deal with the problem effectively.
There are various survival skills that can be employed when you see your child being bullied about his or her weight. Focus on the positive aspects about them and ensure they feel good about themselves.
Spend time on strengths. When you encourage such talents as music, drama or art, it can help to build confidence. Usually, the bullies go after people who have low confidence – and those that are fat are overweight are usually lacking in this department. If your child can gain confidence through art or some other activity, they will be a less likely target for bullying activity.
Don’t show fear. Many bullies want to see an emotional response come from their bullying. If you show anger or fear, then the bully is getting exactly what they want. Talk to your children about how to deal with bullying so that they understand what can be done. This can include asking the bully to stop, walking away or doing nothing.
Avoid certain situations. There may be situations that are more likely to invite a bully than others. Kids need to know that they should surround themselves with friends or walk in the vicinity of an adult or teacher. Being alone in a locker room or bathroom or sitting at the back of the bus is going to invite trouble – and this can be done by just changing the way that a child interacts throughout the day.
The fat bullying isn’t going to last forever, though it may seem like it to the person who is getting bullied. Eventually the bully will grow tired of bullying your child or your child is going to move on to a point where there is no bully or he or she is more comfortable in the surroundings to stand up to the person who is doing the bullying.
Regardless of what weight a child is at, bullying is not something that should be tolerated. While you can help your child lose weight in order to get past some of the bullying, the bully is picking on your child due to a lack of self-confidence. The weight is just a reason to use – and there is likely going to be something else that will be used if it’s not weight. This means that all of the solutions apply regardless of whether it has to do with weight or anything else.
Bullying isn’t something that should be tolerated and your child needs to know this. Whether he or she is overweight is not the issue. It is the fact that someone else feels the need to pick on your child in order to feel better – and it can be ended.