Bullied: Online & Offline
Today we not only deal with the “bully on the playground,” we must watch out for the ones that lurk on social media! Bullies can have a devastating effect on your child.
What Parent’s Can Do
As a parent, the best way to make sure your child doesn’t become a victim of bullying is to build self-confidence with positive reinforcement. That’s not always an easy task and it requires your diligence in using positive messages. Bullies have a way of quickly honing in on a “weaker person.”
If your child is sensitive or is dealing with some difficult issues in their life; bullies seek out this type of victim. Sadly I see far too many boys in my practice who are dealing with a bully.
Signs to Watch For
- torn clothes
- unexplainable injuries
- lost money or electronics
- not wanting to go to school
- headaches, stomach aches or faking illness
- difficulty sleeping and/or nightmares
- declining grades
- decreased self-esteem
- acting out on younger siblings
- when asked “what’s the matter?” The response is “I don’t know.”
One Of Many
In my book “Saving Our Sons: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success” there is a case study about “Andrew.” Andrew was so beaten down by a group of bullies at school that he contemplated suicide. Neither he nor his parents could understand how this happened to him. He was an ordinary young boy with a big loveable personality. His mom tried everything she could to put a stop to the bullying. The school wasn’t willing to help; they didn’t see it as an issue. It went on for years.
By the time I saw Andrew he had lost all self-confidence and had fallen into a deep depression. He began experiencing OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) symptoms. We worked very hard for months establishing his self-worth and confidence. I introduced him to The Quest Project® where he would attend group meetings with other teenage boys who were just like him. In time, he began to understand that he matters, that he is strong and healthy and smart.
Meet The Bully
The “bully,” I explained to Andrew, is the one with issues. A bully typically is or has been a victim themselves first. Bullies have a need to relieve their pain and in doing so, they project onto someone else. This gives them a false sense of “being okay.” This does not make their actions acceptable, but it does put some perspective on the personality.
Hope Won’t Work
If your son is being bullied, first get counseling. Enroll him in self-defense classes. This is never a waste of time as self-defense education provides confidence and information that can be used throughout life.
Unfortunately hoping a bully will stop doesn’t work. We can learn how to avoid giving them gratification by not responding. If you see someone being bullied, do something!
Do you have an experience with bullying you’d like to share? Please post it in the comments or on my Facebook page.