Despite more than 1 in 5 children in the US being bullied in schools, the issue continues to be taken lightly by educational institutes around the country. It’s often brushed under the rug as something that just happens in school, its “normal” behavior. But bullying has long-term consequences, it triggers serious mental health problems that can drag into adulthood; in the worst cases, bullying causes kids to harbor suicidal thoughts.
Victims of bullying in the US are 2 to 9 times more likely to attempt suicide; every day 160,000 kids choose to stay at home instead of going to school out of fear of bullying.
Being bullying does lasting damage to a child’s self-esteem. It may not always cause physical damage but it can scar young kids for life unless it is addressed. Victims of bullying struggle with self-loathing and fear, which impacts them when they’re older too.
Let’s look at some of the ways bullying can damage individuals:
Counseling Services – Distorted Sense of Self
Bullied kids are vulnerable to depressive thoughts and feelings as adults. Because their sense of self is distorted, they view themselves as incompetent, less than desirable people who just don’t have what it takes to be successful and happy. As a result, they become angry, bitter and depressed.
Constant bullying ingrains in the victims’ minds that they don’t have control over their surroundings; they feel powerless and lose their ability to defend themselves. This learned helpless turns into depression and hopelessness over time.
Self-Doubt and Demoralization
A damaged sense of self is just the initial impact of constant bullying. In the long-run, it leaves you demoralized because you begin to see yourself through the eyes of the bully. You begin to believe that everyone sees you the same way. Kids who are bullied start doubting themselves and their abilities; they no longer have the emotional strength to handle difficult situations, which is why suicidal thoughts become more frequent.
The lack of confidence in themselves and their abilities prevents victims of bullying from taking opportunities that can help them advance in life. Their academic performance deteriorates and they prefer to withdraw themselves from social situations.
For all these reasons, bullying in school shouldn’t be overlooked. Parents who think they’re child is being bullied should turn to the school for help. They also should take steps to reverse the damage done by bullying by taking their kid to a trained counselor that specializes in treating young children.
Kids that are bullied develop trust issues but a trained mental health expert has the skills to help them open up; such kids can benefit greatly from seeing a counselor.
Pearce Counseling in Nassau County, NY, offers counseling services for children who are struggling with anxiety and depression. Jacqueline D. Pearce is a licensed mental health expert who can help change a child’s negative thinking patterns so they adopt a more positive mindset and self-image.
Contact Pearce Counseling at 516-447-6611 to book an appointment.