Bullying In Children - Causes, Effects And Solutions

Bullying In Children - Causes, Effects And Solutions

Barkha Chawla

Watching your child getting bullied can be a daunting experience for the parents. Some parents don't know how to tackle their children when it comes to bullying and some might even be unaware that their kids and being bullied or even bullying another child. We spoke to Dr Divya Mohindroo, Counseling Psychologist and Founder of Embrace Imperfections. She has more than six years of experience in therapeutic intervention and counselling services for clients with various mental health stresses helping them with appropriate coping mechanisms. She specializes in community and educational psychology. She is also a Member of the American Psychological Association, Indian Association for Counselling, Premium Member of APPPAH (Association For Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health), and Lifetime Member at Counsellor Council of India to tell us about how we can help our children when they experience bullying. Read on to know what she had to say about the same.

Dr. Divya Mohindroo

What is bullying?

Bullying is a form of “violence” towards a victim involving unwanted aggressive behaviour from another individual. Bullying can be repeated over periods of time, resulting in physical, psychological, social or educational harm. The effects of bullying have serious and lasting negative impacts on our mental health. It can cause feelings of rejection, exclusion, isolation, low self-esteem, depression, stress or anxiety. It can even develop into Severe Trauma which lasts years.  Bullying can lead to interpersonal violence, substance use, sexual violence, social withdrawal & lack of motivation to perform well.

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Who is at the risk of being bullied?

Children who are identifying gender roles, developing their individual personalities and figuring out who they are sometimes become targets for bullying.

How does it affect children?

  • As per my research, it can lead to developing aggression. It can make children’s faith in having big issues in building their friendships.
  • When one goes through bullying over a long period of time, they may begin to blame themselves for being bullied and in turn, develop self-blame and guilt which leads to shocking incidents and sometimes might even lead to suicide.
  • We have an opportunity to be mindful of what our kids are doing with their devices and how these interactions with others may be affecting them.

How can we help our children?

  1. Digital literacy is very important to curb bullying at the right time. Limit screen time & check content for your children. Encourage positive health interactions on devices that are monitored & balanced.
  2. If you are concerned that your child is experiencing the ill effects of bullying, it may be helpful to connect with a mental health professional to help you through it. It’s not healthy or normal to be bullied.  
  3. If your child is bullied, listen to the child attentively such children need genuine empathy & attention.  
  4. Ensure that the child doesn’t feel guilt or get into the self-blaming zone.  
  5. Speak up and inform the concerned authorities to take timely action.
  6. Consistently if we work as a society to create awareness & education around the effects of bullying on physical & mental growth slowly we will be able to end the bullying that comments on one's social status, physical appearances or mental health reasons.

All children are gifted and special in their own way. A mental health professional can work with the victims as well as the bullies they can train the victims to become stronger, more confident to speak about such incidents, to take action when required and not to linger with unwanted feelings for too long.

Similarly, the therapists can lead to the inherent causes for the bully to engage in such acts and with cognitive restructuring slowly change their negative thinking patterns to more positive acts so that the harm caused by bullying ends. Even if you think that being stuck at home and with the new normal bullying has reduced it’s not true a lot of children are spending time on the screens and indulging in comparisons and wrong acts even on their digital devices.

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Taking the right action at the right time will help us keep our children in the right direction.

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