When people think about bullying many imagine something like this: one child yelling at another to give up their lunch money. But the reality of bullying is very different and unfortunately much more severe. Did you know that over 70% of students report that bullying is a problem at their school? And that about one out of ten middle school kids drop out of or change schools due to bullying?
Broadly speaking bullying can be defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves some kind of power imbalance. Bullying isn’t limited to physical abuse – verbal, emotional, and cyberbullying are also common in many schools. Although bullying is commonly associated with kids and adolescents it also impacts adults.
Helping a child through a bullying situation can be complicated and often requires collaboration between parents, kids, teachers, and school counselors. If you are concerned that your child is being bullied it is especially important to ask your child how their day at school went. Because some children feel embarrassed about being bullied, asking about this topic directly may not help you find an answer.
Bullying can contribute to students feeling socially isolated, worthless or depressed. In addition, the psychological effects of bullying can last well into adulthood and increase a person’s chance of experiencing things like anxiety disorders. Contacting a psychologist may be a good way to help your child overcome their bullying situation. Together, you and your psychologist can identify healthy strategies to improve the overall quality of your child’s functioning at school.
For more information about bullying, check out these resources:
- FindaPsychologist.org: Bullying Self-Help Resources
- StopBullying.gov: Supporting kids who are being bullied
- StopBullying.gov: Considerations for specific groups
- National Institute of Mental Health: Bullying effects into adulthood
- Center for Disease Control: Youth Violence