As we know, bullied teens are often silent about the torment they face in school and in most cases. This is due to shame and embarrassment. Also, Most parents are not even aware that there is a problem and those who are aware are often at a loss as to how to deal with it. If you are a parent and are wondering whether or not your son or daughter is a target of bullying, here are the signs of a bullied teen:
1. Withdrawal from family and friends- as we know, being the target of a bully can slowly chip away at the victim’s self esteem. And people with low self esteem have a tendency to withdraw. It is a defense mechanism to protect oneself against further attacks because bully targets, after being victimized for so long, begin to think that ALL people are vicious and cannot be trusted. So therefore, they put up their guard and close themselves off, which can result in missed opportunities for closeness with family members, friendships, or romantic relationships.
2. Underachievement- Most bully targets are underachievers. Their self esteem has been so badly beaten that they no longer believe in themselves, which can cause a condition known as “Learned Helplessness”. A bully target, after being told that they are a “loser”, “no good” and/or that they “can’t do anything right” so often for so long, they tend to believe it themselves. This can have a negative impact on grades, class participation, and performance.
3. Over achievement- I mentioned in number 2 about underachievement and with most targets of bullying, this is usually the case. However, this can go either way. Some targets of bullying dive into schoolwork and achieve exceptional grades and class performance to compensate for their low social status among their peers. They feel that they are socially inept somehow, so these kids try to make up for this by excelling in their studies, talents, or any other area.
4. Bruises, scrapes, and or cuts on their physical body- most victims of bullying are victims of physical bullying (being punched, kicked, knocked down, dragged, etc), which occurs mostly in boys, but thanks partially to feminism and the moral decline in today’s young girls and women, physical assaults perpetrated by females are increasing at an alarming rate.
5. Sadness and Depression- symptoms are crying, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities one normally enjoys, and fatigue.
6. Excessive absences from school- Most bully-targets are afraid of going to school because they know that as soon as they step onto that school bus or get to school, bullies will be waiting for them. So they avoid going to school by either skipping, or feigning an illness as an excuse to stay home.
7. They may become bullies themselves- Often, bullied children and teens feel helpless. They feel that they have absolutely no control over anything. So they too become bullies in an attempt to feel some sense of power and control over something…ANYTHING. They often bully others who are even more powerless than they are to make themselves feel better about themselves and to feel that they are a rung or two up from the bottom of the social hierarchy. Crap always rolls downhill. An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It’s the same with most bully targets. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was guilty of the same thing in school. I simply call this “Kicking the Dog”.
8.Suicidal thoughts and attempts- sadly, suicides resulting from bullying are at an all-time high! Most children and teens who are bullied do not know what to do about it. Most have tried reporting it to an adult or handling it themselves to no avail. Bully targets often feel alone and have no one in their corner. They feel that there is something wrong with them. They feel like they have some major defect either physical or social, that causes them to be mistreated by others. They often feel as is it is their fault and that somehow, they deserve the shabby treatment they get. Sadly, some targets break under the pressure and suicide may seem to them to be the only way out….the only way to make the bullying and the pain stop. If you even THINK that your child or grandchild might be suicidal, GET HELP NOW! And be there for them. Bully-targets need a support system! Be that support system!
If you see any of these signs in your child or grandchild, DO NOT IGNORE IT OR MINIMIZE IT! Ask questions!!!
Try to get them to open up. It won’t be easy, as children, especially teens do not like to admit being bullied, even to their own families. However, if you want to help them, you have to address it and you have to do it gently and lovingly.