Bullying is rampant among teenagers and isn’t easy to notice. There might not be any physical signs of bullying as it happens in different forms. The effects of bullying are severe and range from emotional, physical and mental health damage that’ll take years to solve. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about bullying.
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What Is Bullying?
Bullying is aggressive and unwanted behavior caused by a perceived imbalance of power by a bully toward his or her victim.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 22% of students aged 12-18 were victims of bullying in school. These students were subjected to rumours, called names, excluded from activities, made fun of, and threatened with physical violence. And some were pushed and shoved.
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Forms of Bullying
To fully participate in National Bullying Prevention Month, you need to be able to identify different types of bullying.
The rise of the internet has led to users sending threatening messages to other people. This happens in the form of making memes about someone, stoking someone on social media, or publishing damaging content about them.
It targets someone’s relationships and reputations. It involves:
- Excluding them from social groups
- Embarrassing others in public
- Spreading rumours.
It involves hurting someone with an object or causing damage to their property. This includes:
- Breaking their objects
It occurs when you use aggressive sexual language that degrades them, victimizes them, or signals violence. Examples of this include:
- Grabbing someone sexually without their consent.
- Commenting about someone’s sexual life.
- Spreading intimate images of them.
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Signs Your Teenager Is Being Bullied
Teenagers find it hard to disclose episodes of bullying. This is why you should know the signs so you can deal with the situation on time. Besides watching the signs, a parent can also share books to empower the teenagers. Here are some example of books your teenage child can read on Amazon.
Is your child refusing to go to school, crying or faking sickness to miss school? This is a tell-tale sign that he or she is being bullied.
Remember that kids spend around seven to eight hours in school, and a lot of things happen during that time. Instead of forcing your child to attend school, follow up and find out why they are suddenly refusing to go to school.
If you notice that your child is always coming home without their books, stationery, or school uniform, someone is possibly giving them a hard time.
Have Physical Injuries
If they develop cuts and bruises out of the blue, find out how it happened and come up with a way to prevent another occurrence.
Lack of Interest in Activities
If your child suddenly withdraws from activities he or she once enjoyed, it’s a sign of bullying. It’s a way of running away from their bullies so take time and find out their drop in interest.
Bullying causes worry, anxiety, stress and a loss of concentration. This leads to a drop in performance because they become unmotivated to learn. They also don’t want to stand out in fear of getting bullied even more.
Being around people makes your child anxious and, thus withdraw from social situations as a way of finding safety. If your teenager doesn’t want to participate in any social events in the neighbourhood or school, don’t leave anything to chance.
Bullying is painful. When a child is a victim, they are forced to do things they don’t want and become bitter. One way they release their pain is by blowing up on people or being incredibly sad. If your child has explosive anger, dig deep into this. It’s possible they are being bullied.
Change the Route
Children have an established route they use when going to school. If you’ve learnt that they prefer using a different route than usual, talk to them about it to learn why. If they used to walk and now want to take a bus, again, it could be a sign of bullying as they are running away from the spaces their bully might be in.
Whenever he or she sees their bully, or hears they’ll be in the same place as you, they’ll look frightened. Don’t laugh this off. Find out why that person scares them.
Poor Eating Patterns
Emotional influx caused by bullying might lead to a loss of appetite or binge eating as a coping mechanism. If your child repeatedly comes back home hungry, find out what’s happening as other students might snatch their food.
If you’ve seen any of these signs in your teenager, talk to them. Additionally, talk to their teachers about the unusual habits you’ve noticed to get to the root of the problem. Remember, it’s important to raise awareness about these issues which is why the world observes National Bullying Prevention Month.
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