Teen bullying can conjure serious and longstanding consequences in an adolescent’s life.
By definition, bullying is described as unwanted and aggressive behavior acted out among school-age adolescents that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It also encompasses another important component ─ a pattern of behavior that is repeated over time.
No single factor puts any one child at risk of being bullied. They simply are “perceived” as different from their peers, maybe because they’re overweight, or because they wear glasses or merely it’s because they don’t have the attributes of what other teens consider “cool.” If an adolescent is regarded as not being able to defend themselves, or appears weak in some way, they may also be at risk of being bullied.
Peer Abuse in its Unadulterated Form
In order to get the right help for your teen, it’s important to understand there are several different classifications of bullying:
- Verbal bullying, including derogatory name-calling
- Bullying through isolation
- Physical bullying, such as hitting, kicking and shoving
- Bullying through lies and spreading rumors
- Having money stolen or things damaged by the bully
- Being threatened or forced to do things
- Racial bullying
- Sexual bullying
- Cyberbullying via the Internet and cell phone communication
Repeated bullying can cause severe emotional harm. And if it’s getting physical, your young teen’s safety is surely at risk. Bullying is not teasing; it’s always deliberate and intentional. It is an unrelenting form of peer abuse.
The Warning Signs
There are a plethora of warning signs that your adolescent may be a victim of bullying. But if you suspect your teen is suffering from something more severe, such as depression or extreme anxiety, they may need behavioral therapy. Keep in mind, your son or daughter may not feel comfortable telling you about these issues, but if you recognize any of the signs of either depression or anxiety, tune in closer and seek immediate help.
The warning signs that your young teen may be suffering from victimization by a bully are definitely fierce and plenty. Here are a few, but for a more comprehensive list, go here:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises and scrapes
- Unexplained “loss” of possessions
- Doesn’t want to go to school
- Is afraid to ride the bus
- Becomes clingy and attached to adults
- Dramatic change in personality or behavior
- Difficulty sleeping due to nightmares
- Acts out or begins radical bullying behavior with siblings
- Sudden drop in grades
When to Seek Help
Bullying affects everyone—the one who is being bullied, the one who is doing the bullying, and those who witness the act from the outside. Make every effort to get to the root of the problem before serious damage sets in. For the adolescent being bullied, the struggle is real, and it’s often debilitating.
If you suspect your student is being bullied, and they won’t speak to you, consider setting up a meeting with an adult who knows your teen and that your teen trusts—possibly a teacher or neighbor. Communicate with your child deliberately and often that you are always there for them; that you are in their corner and will do everything to help. If the signs intensify, consider professional help. At Pacific Quest, our staff is trained to deal specifically with teens who have been involved in bullying situations. Give us a call today.