You don’t have to go far to find a parent whose child is dealing with bullying. Every time you flip on the television, you hear stories about kids committing suicide because they could no longer endure being demeaned by their peers. YouTube videos are filled with footage of parents who felt forced to take matters into their own hands by giving their children’s bullies a taste of their own medicine. Despite all the anti-bullying campaigns raging across the country, the situation doesn’t seem to get any better. Learn How Bullying Affects People Everywhere!
Back in the day, bullying was isolated to school property. Kids got beat down on the bus, had their lunch money snatched at their lockers, and got teased on the playground. Once they made it home, they were safe. Now-a-days, social media and other internet mediums make it possible for bullies to torment their victims round the clock.
As if being beat up, ridiculed and belittled isn’t enough, some kids pay the price of constant harassment with their health. When kids feel stressed by the constant threat of bullying, their “fight or flight” response kicks in. When this happens, the muscles tense, the heart races and the body releases adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, this reaction can weaken the immune system and cause a variety of health problems. This is how bullying affects people:
- physical injuries (broken bones, lacerations, etc.)
Being bullied can also lead to serious mental health issues. Victims can experience crippling depression and battle thoughts of suicide. Some kids are bullied to the point where they need mental health treatment for the physical and emotional trauma to subside.
In addition, those who are incessantly bullied are more likely to abuse substances or participate in other types of risky behaviour. These behaviours can lead to serious illnesses. For example, a person who abuses alcohol can eventually suffer with liver damage.
These issues can follow children into adulthood and affect their ability to get and hold down jobs. This increases the risk of poverty and makes buying nutritious foods difficult. Lack of nutrient-dense foods can lead to malnutrition, brittle bones, muscle waste and other physical ailments.
There are a number of reasons children bully and how bullying affects people. Some of them may include:
- a lack of parental involvement or warmth
- wanting to enhance social status
- harsh discipline methods used by parents
- overly permissive parenting
- family members modelling bullying behaviour
- unchecked emotional issues
- a way to relieve boredom
- peer pressure
Regardless of the reason, early intervention is important to stop bullying and minimize the effects on your child. Bullying flourishes in schools where the behavior is not tackled head on. Contact the school and set up an appointment to talk to the principal, teachers and other administrators responsible for supervising the children.
Keep written documentation of the dates, places and people involved in bullying your child. If your child sustains injuries, damaged belongings or torn clothes from any of the bullying incidents, take pictures of them so you can have proof if you ever need it.
Check to see if the school has policies to deal with instances of bulling. If there are no policies on the books, rally to have some put in place. Get a written plan of action from the principal documenting how the staff intends to protect your child from the bully.
While you’re pushing the school to do more, teach your kid to tell an adult when she is being bullied. Also, consider enrolling your child in a self-defence class. This will boost confidence levels and give her the skills needed to defend herself if necessary. Self-defence classes will also give your child the discipline to maintain her composure when she is around the bully.
If online bullying is a problem, limit your child’s time on social media and change her cell phone number and only allow close friends and relatives to have it.
Children who are relentlessly bullied can experience a host of physical and mental health issues that can follow them their entire lives. Stopping the behaviour as soon as possible can protect them from futures that are filled with depression, anxiety and other heartbreaking ailments.