Although bullying continues to be a problem for many young people and school systems, the anti-bullying campaigns which have been put in place and executed on many fronts has started a conversation that many are finding helpful. Even if these dialogues do not cure bullying, what they are doing is giving parents and educators a better insight into what types of bullying is taking place among young people today. Bullying, like many other things in life, has it stereo types. Many adults feel they know what kind of things kids get bullied over and what kind of kids do the bullying. However, what many educators and childhood behavioral researchers are discovering, is that bullying really has no rules. People are simply now being Bullied for Being Skinny.
One surprising discovery is that more and more kids are complaining of being bullied for being skinny. This is surprising to many researchers because in the past many people assumed that overweight children were the only ones targeted because of their size. It appears, however, that the crux of the bullying problem is any child being different in any way. This can include children who are obese, children who are skinny, children who have disabilities, children who are advanced, and children who are challenged. Each social grouping seems to develop a set of standards, and the children who do not fit that standard are then targeted by bullies. However, sometimes kids are targeted for no reason at all.
Effect on Females
Female victims seem to take body image related bullying especially hard. Most girls are already extremely self-conscious concerning their physical appearance. Girls are bombarded with many messages everyday concerning their physical appearance and their size. Because many girls are influenced by the media message that skinnier is better, much time and effort is put into being skinny. In the media skinny people are generally considered prettier. So girls want to know how to be skinny. In their minds they equate being skinny with being accepted.
When this philosophy does not produce what they expect, and they then find themselves being bullied because they are skinny, the emotional effects can be devastating. This type of bullying can lead to depression and possible eating disorders.
Signs of a Problem
If your child has been bullied for being skinny, there are certain signs you should look for that might indicate they are have a negative emotional reaction to the bullying. Watch to see if your child’s eating habits change. Do they eat more or less than they did in the past? Has your child begun to dress differently? Many kids and teens will begin to wear very large baggy clothes to cover up their bodies when they feel ashamed of their size or appearance. Has your child begun hiding food? Hiding food or sneaking food is a classic sign of eating disorders.
Other signs that your child is having a hard time dealing with being bullied about their size is that you may find certain types of searches on their online history. Keep an eye out for web searches such as, “how to get skinny,” or, “I want to be skinny.” Other signs that you child may be having issues with their body image or with being bullied concerning body image is if you notice your child talking incessantly about skinny people, or young girls talking about skinny women.
What can Parents Do?
Concerned parents want to know how to be counteract these types of bullying situations. As with all types of bullying, one of the best types of proactive behavior is to keep an open line of communication between you and your child. When kids have adults they can communicate with openly and honestly, they are less likely to react negatively to bullying. When you keep a good line of communication with your kids you will be able to better stay on top situations that require your intervention.
If you and your child do have an incident that requires intervention, it is very important to attend to the matter as quickly as possible. This will serve a twofold purpose. First of all it will assure your child that you are concerned about what is happening in their life and the fact they are being bullied for being skinny. Second of all, you will be active in the process of helping to alleviate some of the bullying that is going on in your child’s social environment.
What can Kids Do?
When kids are facing bullying over body image or for being skinny there are also steps they can take to help their own situation as well future situations that may affect other kids and teenagers. One of the best ways to deal with bullying situations is to help keep adults notified of bullying situations that are going on.
For kids who really want to have an impact on their social environments, organization anti-bullying rallies and events can be a very satisfying activity. There are many options for anti-bullying campaigns. Simple social media campaigns can be easily executed from your own home. These types of campaigns can include posting and sharing anti-bullying slogans for a day and encouraging others to share as well. Making ribbons or pins and passing them out to others can also help to raise awareness among peers.
If a teen feels as if they are beginning to experience some negative effects of bullying, it is important to reach out to adults who you know care and can have a positive influence on your situation. Being bullied for being skinny, can be very confusing and can hurt your sense of self confidence and self-esteem.
When to Get Professional Help?
In extreme situations, it may become necessary to seek out professional help for your child or teen. Getting bullied for being skinny, can have a devastating effect on a young person’s body image. When this type of bullying results in depression or eating disorders it may become necessary to seek out professional help. Counseling or therapy can help your child or teenager deal with the very confusing emotions that may result from being bullied for being skinny.
Many parents and kids are hesitant to seek out counseling for these types of problems. Some people may even feel shame over the need for counseling or therapy. There is no shame is seeking out professional help for the emotional issues that result from bullying abuse. Many people are unable to deal with the complex emotions that result from bullying situations.
Counselors and therapists who are trained to help young people, can prove to be a great tool in untangling the complicated emotions.
When these types of emotions are left unchecked, greater problems can develop. Clinical depression, substance abuse, and even suicidal tendencies are often a result of troubled emotions that go unresolved. If you are or your child are experiencing changes in sleeping habits, eating habits, or school performance, it may be time to seek out professional help.
Anti Bullying Resources
To help parents and teens deal with bullying and being bullied for being skinny, there are many resources available. Guidance counselors as well as educators have certain resources available for parents and kids to help them deal with bullying and to help spread the word on how important it is to stop bullying among other kids. As well as these professionals there are also online resources, such as www.stopbullying.gov. This website provides much information for kids and parents to help them navigate the turbulent waters of bullying. On this site you can also find specific information on different types of bullying, such as being bullied for being skinny, or being bullied concerning your race. There are also ideas for how to fight bullying in your school and community.
For those who feel it is time to use professional help, this website also provides links, phone numbers and other information to professional help that can be called upon for certain situations.