When kids head back to school these days they face some big stressors in addition to homework, grades, and peer pressure. Concerns about bullying and its relationship to school violence add another layer of stress.
More than 43 percent of teens report being bullied online; additionally, teens are more than twice as likely to tell their peers about bullying than they are to tell parents or other adults, one study found.
Bullying includes threats, rumors, physical or verbal attacks, and excluding somebody from a group on purpose. Cyberbullying has added a new dimension. Kids with access to technology can be subjected to online bullying 24-7, making them feel there is no escape and leaving them feeling isolated and desperate. This is one reason cyberbullying has been linked to self-harm and suicide among young people.
Online bullies are less likely to see the results of their bullying. One study showed only 16 percent felt guilty after bullying online while 40 percent felt nothing at all. Some said cyberbullying made them feel funny, popular, or powerful. Cyberbullies are more likely to have poor relationships with their parents, which means they may not have much supervision of what they are doing online.
Many harmful effects of bullying are insidious and long-lasting. Victims of bullying and other early trauma often carry emotional scars into adulthood. One study by Duke University finds that kids who were bullied were three to five times more likely to have an anxiety or panic disorder or agoraphobia through their 20s.
When people experience trauma such as being bullied, sometimes the emotions they experience (fear, anxiety, anger, and rejection – to name just a few) can become trapped in the body, disrupting its energy flow. Trapped emotions can remain buried for years, causing pain and illness later in life. They are a major cause of depression and anxiety. Children who have been bullied may be more sensitive to feeling rejected, leaving them shy or withdrawn. Or they may carry around anger that makes them more likely to bully others.
Many kids who are victimized by bullying don't ask for help because they are paralyzed by fear. They may be afraid of being seen as weak or a tattletale, or fear backlash from the bully or rejection by friends. As a result, parents are often the last ones to know. Here are 12 warning signs parents should watch for:
- Emotional upset, anxiety, and depression.
- Frequent headaches and stomach aches.
- Faking illness.
- Unexplainable injuries.
- Changes in eating habits.
- Poor sleep / frequent nightmares.
- A drop in school performance.
- Not wanting to go to school.
- Sudden loss of friends.
- Avoidance of social situations.
- Low self-esteem.
- Self-destructive behaviors including self-harm, running away, or talking about suicide.
If you see your child struggling with any of these issues, talk with him or her about what’s going on. Talking with your children is the key both to preventing bullying, and to uncovering and healing the emotional trauma it can cause. Some other steps you can take:
- Help the child to know that he or she is valued and that it is safe to communicate with you as a parent or a counselor.
- Pay attention to what your child is doing online and be aware of warning signs specific to cyber bullying.
- Encourage kids to speak with an adult they trust if they are being bullied or see other kids being bullied.
- Talk with them about how to stand up to kids who bully and how to report bullying at their school.
- Urge kids to help others who are being bullied by showing kindness or getting help.
Parents of bullied kids often feel helpless, angry, and frustrated. It's important to recognize that it is natural to feel this way, but you don't want to dwell on it. Try to keep your emotions under control so you can help your child feel safe.
About Dr. Bradley Nelson: A holistic Chiropractic Physician and Medical Intuitive, Dr. Bradley Nelson is one of the world’s foremost experts in the emerging fields of Bioenergetic Medicine and Energy Psychology. He has certified thousands of practitioners worldwide in helping people overcome unresolved anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other negative emotions and their associated physical symptoms. His bestselling book, "The Emotion Code," provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body's healing power. Download a free copy of the ebook and the audiobook by visiting www.EmotionCodeGift.com.
Author and international lecturer in bio-energetic medicine and energy psychology, Dr. Brad has successfully used The Emotion Code with thousands of patients around the globe to relieve symptoms and often effect cures in conditions ranging from depression to cancer. His best-selling book, The [...]