Effects of bullying on your child’s mental health Status : Bullying is a problem that is as old as the hills – but it leaves definite lasting effects on a person’s life and self-esteem. However, the bullying that is witnessed today, as well as the reports that are increasingly appearing on the news and in public debate, show that bullying is becoming worse as time goes by.
In fact, the recent news of a thirteen year old boy committing suicide due to being bullied at school in New York raises the question of why we need to begin talking about mental health and bullying in schools more often. Bullies come in every form and at every age – but that does not mean the effects do not linger for many years afterwards. In fact, it even extends to beyond the school playground, according to research findings by several researchers.
The overall news is that it is not only the victims who suffer, but also the bullies themselves.
The lifelong effects
Bullying is not something that just surfaces suddenly in the life of a child, and its effects do not end once the child grows up. Many people who suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and depression also were victims of bullying, and they require to go through psychiatric treatment later on in their lives.
Various studies have established that there is a strong link between going through bullying and experiencing issues with mental health during childhood and adult years. This includes low self-esteem, depression, poor performance in school, and increasing chances of committing suicide.
This is not only something that affects the victims of bullies – but also affects the bullies themselves. In fact, almost 20 percent of people that were bullying others in their childhood also experienced mental health issues, which means they need treatment when in their teen or young adult years.
The kids who are bullying others should never be dismissed, as a majority of them will suffer from problems in their mental health as adults. They also tend to pick on other children because they experienced bullying somewhere else, either in the home or within the communities they live in.
In fact, more than thirty percent of child bullies also experience the highest rates of schizophrenia, depression, teen substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, compared to even the victims of bullying.
It gets worse than adult verbal abusing
If you thought parents and adults in general were the source of harassment in the life of a bully or bullied child, it is about to get surprising – peers are considered worse, especially when you consider the psychological effect of their words.
In fact, a study that was recently published revealed that kids and teens that experienced bullying from their peers suffered greater damage to their mental health even in adulthood. This is contrary to the thought that adults hold the most damaging power over kids and teens.
This could be due to the fact that peers are usually more aggressive in their bullying tactics compared to adults. Think back to when you were a teen or young kid, and what bullied kids were going through – being excluded from all social functions, getting beaten up, suffering physical attacks, and verbal insults. Those actions affect them so much more than what an adult can do to them, except when it comes to abuse.
Today, the risk is even worse, thanks to the advent of the internet. Online bullies exist as well, and when your child or teen becomes a target, they stop at nothing until they destroy your child’s reputation and character. This is sad, but is among the reasons why social media and the internet have led to so many cases of depression among teens, as well as increase in suicide rates.
The extensive impacts of bullying
Studies also show that in the United Kingdom, more than 15,000 children are home schooled because they have been through frequent bullying in school, and this has made their performance academically suffer because of it.
A bullied child will suffer from the inability to focus, and they can be very sick most of the time. Their ability to form and sustain relationships suffers due to poor self-esteem and high self-doubt, and thy can even have trouble trying to sustain a job when they are adults.
When you notice that your child or teen experiences a constant feeling of low self-esteem and self-worth, and they begin to withdraw from the family while keeping to themselves all the time, it may be a pointer to something else going on. They also stop enjoying the activities and hobbies they used to love, and they start to fail or stop attending certain classes.
At the end of the day, the effects of going through bullying are catastrophic, as depression is one side effect of this. The child will have a hard time trying to navigate life even as they grow into adulthood, and many of them turn to drugs and alcohol or other negative activities as a way to cope with the emotional wounds.
What do you do if your teen or child is going through it?
As we have established, bullying will leave a significant mark on your child, and they can develop illnesses such as depression. However, it is not all doom and gloom, as there are some things you can do to ease the problem.
The most important task is getting to the cause of the issue, and you can talk to the child’s teacher or other authority figures in the school to find out what is happening. The school should be able to take adequate measures to stop the bullying.
Talking with your child is the next step, and it shows to them that you care. If their case is severe, professional help can be a step towards helping them heal.
Bullying is something you are guaranteed to see, unfortunately – it can happen to your child or to someone else’s child. Regardless of who it happens to, it is important to take measures quickly and keeping in touch with your child, and seeking help when it happens – since the results are far-reaching.
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