School is a place where kids make friends, have fun, study new things, find new hobbies. But imagine if this happens ‘you are going on with your day and someone started making bad comments on you after some days more people join the one who started it and it no longer limits to just passing bad comments about but is escalated now to subtle hitting, you are getting text messages some of the messages are very hurtful, and as the days pass it gets worse, you find your stuff in bad condition, your books are soaked in water, nobody talks to you or answers your questions’. This is just a small example of what could possibly happen. And without you realizing your child could be going through this.
Bullying is defined as use of force, to imply dominance, misuse of power, or being mean in a worst possible way. Bullying can be verbal physical and because of the interest it could also be cyber bullying. It is an act that can be performed by one or many people. And it could happen to anyone. It is not a one time thing it is a repeated process which can hurt the victims not only physically but also mentally, emotionally and psychologically.
Why would someone become a bully?
Well there are many reasons that a person would try to bully someone. It could be the need to show dominance, control. Or it could also be because the bully has also been a victim which makes them act aggressive and feel a urge to always be in control to reduce their chances of going through it again. Or it could be because they don’t think that what they do is something bad. Or it can be because of the peer pressure which causes them to act mean to other students.
How to identify if your child is being bullied?
Anyone would have a hard time sharing and telling someone about their sufferings. Mainly because of the fear of the bullying getting worse instead of reducing. But still there are some things from which you can identify if a kid is being bullied or not.
Following things can be signs of being bullied :-
Increasing Number Of Injuries –
Growing up it is natural to have few injuries or cuts. But when there are new bruises weekly. And when asked kids not being able to explain how they got bruises is a warning. This could be a sign and it could get worse if not paid enough attention.
Things being Lost or ruined –
Along with many injuries or bruises there is high chance that the child will have torn shirts. There is also chance that they will be missing things. If asked about the lost things they would have a hard time explaining stuff.
Physical Pain –
The mental stress will most probably cause physical pain like stomach ache, headaches, dizziness. It could also be the reason for them to be tired all the time. Some children can get pains which do no respond to medicine.
Disturbed Sleep –
Getting bullied can give rise to problem like having trouble falling asleep. It could also cause them to have nightmares.
Changes In Behavior –
Most common change would be withdrawal from social settings. Getting annoyed or angry at small things, refusing to go to school, having small number to no friends, acting out of place. Because bullying affects greatly on the kid it could make them to shut people out of their lives.
Suicidal Thoughts –
Talking negatively about themselves, not having self confidence, and at last talking about suicide. But the fact that the talk about suicide is very indirect, it’s hard to spot out. But playing close attention it can be pointed out. Self harm is a warning sign of suicidal talk.
Effects Of Bullying
There are many effects but the worst effects are psychological changes. Bullying can cause a person to have low self esteem, low self confidence, which can make it hard for victims to recognize and express feelings, some victims have many mental disorders like anxiety, depression and long time depression can variety of other disorders. Suicidal thoughts, self harm self doubt has a higher chance of overshadowing their life. Victims have also tried to commit suicide using various measures and those attempts have given them many other not only mental of physical discomfort. Even after bullying is stopped and they have gotten into adulthood could suffer from sleep deprivation and nightmares.
What can parents do to help?
If you identify that your child is being bullied then talk to them, and if kids open up to you then first thing to do is comfort and support them. Offer kids the time they need to open up to you because because it is really hard for them to talk about the suffering all of a sudden. Do not get angry or raise voice on them. Or make them feel guilty. Or make is seem like what happened is their fault. Kids may also feel alone which would make them feel scared. Kids might feel like it’s their fault that they are getting bullied that is why it is important to start the process by making the kid understand that it is not their fault, they did nothing wrong. And tell them that they did good thing by telling you.
Whatever you decide to do afterwards should be discussed with child and it should be a mutual decision. Telling the principle, teachers is also a must. It can also be considered to approach the bullies family. And after all this process it should also be considered according to the condition of child to weather or not they should get consultation. Because sometimes the effects of this mental and emotional roller-coaster can get stronger after many months or years, which can cause problems in adulthood of children.