Is your child being bullied? Perhaps they have even become a target, for coming from a home with Christian beliefs and standards.
The reality is, bullying can affect anybody and is a frequent problem at school, at work, at home or even online (cyberbullying). Bullying is not a one-off incident. It is something that people say or do repetitively and intentionally.
Types of Bullying
Bullying can take different forms:
- Verbal: putting people down, calling them names and making threats are example of common verbal bullying.
- Physical: kicking, punching, pushing, following the victim around the playground so that they feel intimidated.
- Social: ignoring the victim on purpose and leaving them out of the group, spreading rumours or lies, giving nasty looks.
- Cyberbullying: with technology, bullying does not stop once your child comes home from school, sport, or work. Bullies use social media, group discussion, chat rooms, emails and text messages to torment their target.
Why do people bully others?
This is an interesting question with many different possible answers. It could be that the bully has a desire to control others; or it may be used as a way to become more popular and respected by others at school (a way to improve a social status). Bullies may also have been the victim of bullying themselves in the past, or it may be their way of coping with family issues.
The Impact of Bullying
Bullying can have a negative impact on people of any age (not just children), damaging their self-esteem. The victims of bullying may experience feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loneliness, rejection, and fear.
Victims can start to lose motivation and concentration at school, or may become shy or socially isolated. Symptoms of depression are often observed, as well as suicidality and self-harm.
If you are worried that your child could be being bullied, there are several signs that you can look for:
- Unexplained injuries;
- Damaged belongings (books, bags etc);
- Lost or missing belongings;
- School refusal;
- Difficulties with sleeping;
- Low self-esteem;
- Not wanting to be part of social events.
“’The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study (2009) surveyed more than 20 000 Australian students aged between 8 and 14 and found that 27% of year 4 to year 9 were bullied every few weeks and also, that girls were more likely to bully in covert ways’’.
Remember that solutions can be found and the best thing to do is to talk about it with your child to explore possible ways to address the problem. Everyone has the right to study and go to school without feeling intimidated, discriminated against, or unsafe.
If you believe that your child is being bullied, it is important that they feel heard and understood. I would love to meet with you and your child to provide counselling support, as well as strategies to deter the bullies.
Author: Meggy Delaunay, PG Dip Psych Practice, PG Dip Dev Psych, M Genetic Psych, B Psych, MAPS.
Meggy Delaunay is a Christian psychologist, primarily working with children, adolescents and young adults. She is a registered Psychologist in Australia, New Zealand and France, and can provide therapy sessions in English and French.
Please call 1800 877 924 to make an appointment or find out how to book online with Meggy Delaunay now!