We’ve all heard about bullying if we didn’t already experience it ourselves growing up. Most frequently discussed regarding school-aged kids, bully is unwanted and unwarranted aggressive and mean behavior towards someone “less powerful.” Bullying can be in the form of physical abuse and can include threats, rumors, verbal abuse and generally attacking someone’s happiness.
If you teen is being bullied, it takes a major toll on their happiness and self-esteem – which both play a huge role in their development into adolescents. So what can we as parents do to reverse the psychological effects?
First things first. If your child is a target of bullying, it is important for them to know they’ve done nothing wrong. Bullying is prompted by other kids need to display their power, and use it against someone else. It doesn’t matter WHO, as long as they are perceived to have “less power.” With teen boys, this is typically gauged by size and strength. Girls who are bullied tend to be soft-spoken, shy, and anxious.
Since your kid may not tell you he or she is being bullied, observe your child’s behavior for signs of bullying. These include: fear of going to school, decreased appetite, general depression, abrasions, ripped clothing and nightmares.
Do not tell your teenager to “pull it together” or “toughen up,” as the last thing you want them to do is physically fight back. It is your job, as their parent, to teach them effective coping and management skills. Practice situations at home where you teach your teen to ignore the bully, or alert an administrator without making things worse.
It is so important for your kids to know their worth, and that this is not right. Let them know that you’re here to help and listen. Offer support and help them talk through it. It’s not always easy, but certainly makes an impact with the bullied teen to know they’re not alone in this unfortunate situation. You are a person they can confide in.
Act as, or point them in the direction of, role models who have been in their situation before. Let them know that someone they trust was also bullied, but overcame the situation. It lets your child know they’re not alone, and someone they look up to has made it out of the dark successfully.
Another good trick is to remind your child of a time they accomplished, or overcame, something big. This reminds them of their strength and how capable they really are.