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Effects of bullying on kids and teens

Most of us have either been a victim or a witness to the act of bullying during our childhood — be it on a school playground where an obese child was humiliated by her peers or in a college canteen where a junior was pushed out of the queue by a group of seniors. A video of a bullied Australian child had gone viral recently which highlighted the negative impact of bullying on children.  A few days back Yarraka Bayles, mother of Quaden Bayles posted a video of her son who was a victim of bullying. In that heart-wrenching video, Quaden, who was born with dwarfism cried his heart out and expressed suicidal thoughts.

Unfortunately, despite the several laws against bullying, it is still rampant. 

As a victim of bullying would know, being bullied is both mentally and emotionally exhausting. While most adults are capable of dealing with negativity, children are not equipped to cope with such traumatising situations. Therefore, bullying at an early age often leaves a long-lasting impact on one’s life.

All we need to know about bullying

According to the National Centre of Bullying, ‘Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.’

These days, however, the act of bullying is not restricted to children and teens. Even adults are falling prey to bullying on the Internet (read cyberbullying).

How does bullying affect victims emotionally and socially

Children who become victims of bullying often suffer both emotionally and socially. Apart from facing difficulty in communication, they often find it hard to make friends and even struggle to maintain a healthy friendship. Such behaviours are very much instigated by low self-esteem. When children are labelled ‘ugly’, ‘weirdo’, ‘fatso’ or ‘loser’ at such a vulnerable age, they end up believing these labels and lose faith in themselves. This is not all, they face challenges in dealing with their own emotions. Due to their bitter experiences, they end up embittered, sad and vulnerable and lack positivity in life. 

Effect of bullying on academics 

Children who are bullied in schools and colleges often suffer academically. Bullied kids find it difficult to focus on their studies, which usually reflects in their academic performance. If the act of bullying has occurred in the school premises, they start avoiding school, which further affects their education.

The University of Virginia conducted a study which shows that children who attend schools that have a bullying culture often have a poor performance in standardised tests. In fact, even children who witness bullying get affected by it. The study also proves that children who belong to schools that conduct anti-bullying programmes perform better in standardised exams.

Ways to deal with the after-effects of bullying

Any abuse, trauma or negative behaviour causes pain to human beings. Children are more tender in nature. Thus, the effect of bullying on them is more dangerous and stays with them for a long period of time. In order to help a child to let go of disturbing memories, parents can follow certain steps. It is very important to empower the child who has been a victim of bullying. Parents must help them to erase the bitter memories and regain confidence. Healing comes in different stages. Though sometimes, the child grows out of the bitter memories, the scar remains. To heal the child completely, parents should make them understand the importance of forgiving and letting go. Once the child forgives the bully, they can get rid of the bitterness completely. If the situation is serious, parents can consult a counsellor to help their child.

Memories of childhood bullying can build up emotional baggage. Our future generations must not carry such a burden. Thus, it is important to make our children aware of the negative impact of bullying and inspire them to be kind and empathetic to self and others.

Source: Very Well Family
National centre against bullying
Masters in psychology. com

Urmi Khasnobish

Urmi Khasnobish is an experienced copywriter at Next Education India Pvt.Ltd. She is an avid reader and a voracious writer with a strong background in journalism. As an enthusiastic blogger, she often indulges in writing on topics of relevance to the Indian youth.


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