The findings of the study were published earlier this week in JAMA Psychiatry.Dr. Pingault and his team made this conclusion from a large population study in England and Wales.
“Our finding that this direct contribution [of bullying to negative mental health outcomes] dissipated or reduced over time, highlights the potential for resilience in children exposed to bullying. In addition to primary prevention aiming to stop exposure to bullying, secondary preventive interventions in children exposed to bullying should address prior vulnerabilities, such as mental health difficulties, if we are to achieve a long-term impact on mental health.”
How to tell if your child is bullied?
First, you should know that bullying involves more than physical assault, it may also be social or verbal. To tell if it is indeed bullying, look for two things: Is the other person using superior strength, influence r popularity to intimidate others? Does this occur repeatedly? Apart from hitting , kicking, shoving or damaging other people’s things, consider other forms of bullying such as:
Saying or writing mean things. This is verbal bullying which includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
Hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. This is Social bullying which includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
Bullying may also occur online. This is cyberbullying which may also have serious impact on victims. When a child is repeatedly exposed to some of these unpleasant experiences, it may have a long lasting impact on the child’s mental health, relationships and academic performance. In extreme cases, some teenagers have taken their lives on account of intense bullying.
What are some of the warning signs of bullying?
More than half of children bullied fail to tell their parents or any reponsible adult. Therefore, you must look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
According to experts some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries-You may see bruises and injuries which the child may try to hide from you
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness usually to avoid going to school
- Changes in eating habits such as poor appetite or binge eating
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem which makes it difficult for them to ask for help
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide. This is often a cry for help which may lead to suicide if unrecognized.
It is not enough to tell a child to tough things out when bullied , there is a need to do more. According to one study, telling the student to solve the problem themselves, that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored them or telling them student to stop complaining one makes things worse.
What Can You do if your child is bullied?
Listening and spending time with the child,
Genuine personal interest such as checking to find out if the bullying stopped
Counseling on specific situations. This could involve using a buddy system, acting brave, walking away, avoiding locations or settings where the child may be at risk.