Bullying and its Effect on Adolescent Mental Health
(c) VictoryLab Inc. 2018
A helpful guide for parents
At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently, making it clear how large an issue bullying is for our youth today. Being bullied causes a child to feel unsafe in their school environment and everyday life. Bullying also has lasting effects on a child’s mental health. A recent report shows that individuals who were bullied as children are still experiencing mental health issues 40 years after being bullied. It can be difficult for a child to speak up when they’re being bullied, so it’s important to always pay attention to your child’s mental health, no matter how happy they may seem. If you suspect that your child might be a victim of bullying, below are some tips for how to deal with the situation.
Tip 1: Recognize the warning signs
Because children don’t often tell their parents when they’re being bullied due to embarrassment or shame, it’s difficult to know when it’s actually happening. Recognizing the warning signs can help you, as a parent, make the step towards helping your child. Some things to look for is if the child expresses hesitation or unwillingness to go to school, or consistently acts sick in the morning before school. Another warning sign is if your child becomes extremely clingy, or isolates themselves completely. These could be evident signs that your child is experiencing bullying at school, and recognizing these signs can help you take action to stop the bullying your child is experiencing.
Tip 2: Teach your child how to respond to bullying
It’s impossible for you to monitor your child at school 24/7, so teaching them how to handle a bully can help them prevent the bullying from happening again. Bullies like seeing a reaction from their victim, whether that be anger, frustration, or sadness. It’s important to teach your child to ignore the bully, and find a teacher to help deal with the situation if the bullying persists. Having a word with your child’s educators is also a good idea, as they can provide extra supervision for your child during recess. Let your child know that giving the bullies a reaction is what they want, and keeping calm and finding a figure of authority is the best way to handle a bully at school.
[Be a happier you the natural way with these 7 tips! They will have you, your friends or loved ones feeling more focused, energized and relaxed so you’ll be ready and excited to meet new people.]
Tip 3: Help restore your child’s self-confidence
Children who are being bullied often feel embarrassed or ashamed that it’s happening. Letting your child know that it’s not their fault is extremely important. Encourage your child to spend time with people who are positive influences, and always provide a willing ear to listen to your child if they want or need to talk. Once they know that they’re not alone, and that they have nothing to be ashamed of, your child’s self-confidence levels will begin to rise again.
Tip 4: Keep a consistent eye on their mental health and behavior
Any participation in bullying increases risk of suicidal ideals in youth, so paying close attention to your child’s mental health is crucial. Evidently, bullying takes a large toll on adolescents, and they can suffer from long term effects because of it. If you notice that your child is acting differently, or beginning to isolate themselves from the things that they enjoy, it’s important to reach out and talk to them. Depression knows no face, age, gender, or race. Anyone can be affected by it, and kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression and anxiety because of it. Be a solid support system for your child, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you notice your child struggling with symptoms of depression.
[Did you know suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, adolescents, and young adults 5-to-24-year olds? Together, we can help. Learn to recognize the warning signs and ways you can help stop teen and child suicide by checking out our blog, here.]
The topic of bullying is one that is quite often talked about in society today, but is also underestimated as well. The effects of bullying can be devastating to an adolescent’s mental health. Stopping bullying altogether is not an easy task, for both parents and children alike. Creating awareness with actions such as Pink Shirt Day or other anti-bullying movements can help parents and children learn how to handle the situation, as well as prevent it from happening as much as possible. It’s also extremely important for kids who are being bullied to reach out and talk to someone, whether that be a parent, a teacher, or a trusted adult. Talking about what you’re going through is the best way to let it be known that you’re struggling, and are in need of help.
We hope that by writing this blog, we are able to bring some attention to the seriousness of bullying and its effect on mental health, and that we are able to help a parent or child in need. Let us come together and help stop bullying, creating a safe and welcoming school environment for all children.
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