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Bullying and Cyberbullying

What is Bullying?

Bullying is when one person uses power, influence, or force to perform aggressive or threatening acts towards someone else. It involves repeated occurrences, or the potential for repetition.

Verbal bullying:

Racial slurs, mean comments, making fun of someone, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, threats.

Physical bullying:

Physically harming someone such as hitting, tripping, pushing, spitting, taking someone’s items, breaking things.

Social bullying:

Spreading rumours, ruining someone’s reputation, habitually
excluding someone, preventing others from being friends with someone.

What is Cyber Bullying?

Cyberbullying or online bullying involves using the internet or social media to embarrass, threaten, intimidate or harm someone. For example, posting inappropriate photos, making rude, humiliating, or threatening comments, posting rumors or sexual comments.

What is the impact of Bullying?

Children or teens who are bullied can become shy, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, or depressed. They may start to self-harm, or report symptoms of stress such as headaches, stomach aches, and school refusal. Bullying can have lasting and devastating consequences. Many schools have a zero tolerance to bullying policy, so reporting it is important.

In some cases, the police may need to be notified, depending on the severity. Your child or teen may be reluctant for you to intervene, as they may fear that the bullying will get worse.

However, it is important to protect the victims / survivors or bullying, and to ensure that bullies receive proper consequences and treatment interventions.

Children who witness bullying may fear being bullied themselves, which can make them reluctant to report or stand up against bullying.

Children who bully others may themselves be victims of abuse or violence, or acting out for some other reason. Without proper consequences and/or treatment, children who bully others may escalate their behaviour over time.

How can therapy help my child or teen overcome bullying?

Your child or teen may be scared to let you know exactly what is going on because they may be worried that you will blame them, overreact, or take matters into your own hands. Simply put – they may fear that telling parents or teachers will somehow make a bad situation even worse. Involving a professional can help children and teens to understand that bullying is wrong, and that they do not need to keep suffering alone with this.

Therapy can help them to rebuild their confidence and self-esteem, and to navigate the system so that parents and teachers can help support the victim/survivor and put an end to the bullying.

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