With school under way, bullying is a topic that many parents and kids are talking about. Each year, thousands of children and teens are on the receiving end of bullying, causing them to be afraid to go to school, walk the halls alone, and participate in after school activities. These children often feel helpless, vulnerable, isolated, and often times suicidal – not knowing whom to turn to in fear that the bullying will get worse.
Whether your child is in elementary school or high school, we all need to understand that there are many forms of bullying, and how severe bullying can become. Every child deserves a safe learning environment. Educating yourself on bullying and the long term affects it can have on a child or teen is the first step in stopping it.
What is Bullying?
Bullying can occur in any social environment, but occurs most often among school age children. It involves unwanted aggressive behavior, where a person is picked on repeatedly by an individual or group. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance, typically in the form of physical strength or social standing.
A bully targets someone they see as weak or different. Some reasons someone might be bullied include:
Whatever the reason, bullying is a way for the bully to feel in control and often is a way for the bully to hide their own (internal) weakness. Bullying can take many forms including:
Steps to take to help your child or teen who is being bullied:
Steps to take if your child or teen witnesses another kid being bullied:
What to do if you think your child is being a bully?
Long term effects of bullying
Bullies also experience long term problems. Statistically the bully has a higher rate of being involved in criminal behavior and can also suffer from higher rates of mental health and substance abuse.
This Tip Sheet has been written by Lisa Caplan. Lisa is a Licensed Certified Social Worker at the clinical level (LCSW-C) and a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC). She has over 15 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and trauma.
Please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential assistance. Jim Quinn, Lawyer Assistance Director, 443.703.3041, firstname.lastname@example.org; Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, CAC, Lawyer Assistance Counselor, 443.703.3042, email@example.com. Toll free 800.492.1964