Bullying in the teenage years does not seem to appear at all in the initial years.
It is kind of a slow poison. Without your teen knowing it, it enters the system.
And before you, as a parent realise it, your teen could be a victim of bullying.
Try to nip it in the bud, before bullying causes havoc in your teen’s life.
Bullying among small kids
This is a little different as we mothers try to be there with our small kids. We are always on guard and try to solve the matter. Small children do listen to us and do as we say. In a way, we as adults can control and resolve teasing/bullying to some extent.
Bullying in teens
Teenagers want to be accepted by their friends. They have this inner need to belong to the group. They are always in their search for an identity.
Thanks to the hormonal changes and the physical changes happening in their bodies, it is too many things happening at the same time. They are sometimes, (well, most of the time!), at a loss and do not know how to handle these rapidly occurring changes.
If you are a parent of a teen, you must have witnessed the literal highs and extreme lows and mood swings that occur in your teen.
They are crazily happy one moment and the very next moment they are shedding a bucket full of tears.
In this complex adolescent stage, they are fighting for an identity.
And to get this identity, they sometimes don’t mind being teased about.
And this is when the seeds of bullying are sown.
From a teenager’s viewpoint, it is like, “Ok! I am at least a part of this group!”
What starts off as simple teasing sometimes gets into an established bullying.
And as bully, fighting to find his/her strengths, one seemingly weak scapegoat is enough to feel superior.
When the bully realises that your teen has a weak spot, he/she tends to show off the superior side. At times, your teen is being plain simple nice. But this nicety is only seen as weakness.
And before long your teen is in the centre of a bullying episode that seems never ending.
Sometimes, it is about being nice; sometimes the bullying is about the physical appearance. Among boys, bullying comes out in the form of physical aggression whereas in girls it is seen at an emotional level, which is far more dangerous.
Bullying in any form should be checked at the right time. If not done, it may lead to depression and sometimes even suicidal tendencies.
Spotting the signs of bullying
An important thing that you should remember is, teenagers often tend to hide these issues from their parents. They feel they can handle the situation or are ashamed to tell it to you. They feel bullying is something that goes away in some time and there is no big deal to be made out of it.
But as a parent, you always know how to spot the signs of bullying in your teen.
Your teen might:
- Be quite unhappy and refuse to go to school.
- Express some fear or simply say “I hate school.”
- Show signs of poor academic performance, when otherwise he/she is a brilliant student.
- Want to be alone always in isolation.
- Show noticeable changes in behaviour and emotions; Excessive aggression or being too very submissive.
- Have very low self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Have trouble sleeping.
If your teenager shows any of these signs, speak to them. And let them open up. Initially, they might simply brush aside the matter or even say that they can handle it.
Give them a chance to handle bullying by themselves. After all, they have to fight their battles. But when you see no noticeable signs of progression, you will have to step in and take action.
How to build your teens’ resilience
The ability to adapt well to any adversity and deal with the ups and downs both emotionally and socially is called resilience. Building this in children and teenagers helps them cope and manage stressful situations in life better.
It is a life skill that you have to build in your child.
- Be a supportive parent. It may be a big task in adolescence, but your teen needs you to listen out. Get to know what is going on in your teen’s life without being too overbearing.
- Always focus on the positive traits of your teen.
- Let them have a good self-esteem and confidence. It does wonders to them.
- When they are assertive, encourage them to be. They should know what is right and wrong and let them stand up for being right.
- Let your teens develop social skills and interact with people.
Teenage bullying is a serious problem. Help your teen tackle it effectively without much damage. Help in building resilience in them.