Telltale Signs a Teen is the Target of Bullying

Telltale Signs a Teen is the Target of Bullying

Bullied teens are often silent about the torment they face in school, due to shame or embarrassment. Parents are often not even aware that there is a problem. If you are wondering whether or not your son or daughter is a target of bullying, here are some signs to keep watch for:

  1. Withdrawal from family and friends. 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’s a defense mechanism to protect oneself against further attacks—bullying targets, after being victimized for so long, often begin to think that ALL people are vicious and cannot be trusted. So they put up their guard and close themselves off, costing them closeness with family, friendships, or romantic relationships.
  2. Underachievement. Most bullying targets are underachievers—but not because they can’t achieve. With their self-esteem so badly beaten, they no longer believe in themselves. This can cause a condition known as Learned Helplessness—after a long time being called “loser” or “no good,” after being told “you can’t do anything right,” the poor target starts to believe it, hurting his or her class participation, performance, and grades.
  3. Overachievement. The opposite of what you might expect, sometimes the constant denigration pushes a bullied kid to dive into schoolwork and achieve exceptional grades. Feeling socially inept, these kids try to make up for how underappreciated and unliked they feel, so they compensate by excelling in their studies or applying talents such as art or music.
  4. Bruises, scrapes, or cuts. Most victims of bullying are victims of physical bullying (being punched, kicked, knocked down, etc.). Though this occurs mostly in boys, physical assaults perpetrated by females are increasing at an alarming rate.
  5. Sadness and Depression. Crying, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities one normally enjoys, and unusual, ongoing fatigue are all reactions a teen may have to being bullied.
  6. Excessive absences from school. Bullied targets are often afraid of going to school because they know that as soon as they step onto that school bus or set foot in the school building, their bullies are waiting for them. The easy solution to that problem, is of course, to avoid going to school by either skipping class, or feigning illness in order to stay home.
  7. Bullying. Yes, another counterintuitive symptom. Sometimes bullied children and teens become bullies themselves in an attempt to feel they have some control over something in their lives instead of feeling helpless and alone. They will bully others who are even more powerless so they can feel that they are a rung or two up from the bottom of the social ladder. I call this “kicking the dog,” and as much as I hate to admit it, I was guilty of the same thing when I was bullied in school.
  8. Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Sadly, today suicides resulting from bullying are at an all-time high. Most children and teens who are bullied don’t know what to do about it. Most have tried reporting it to an adult or handling it themselves to no avail. Kids who are bullying targets often feel alone, that they have no one in their corner. They feel that there is something wrong with them and that the way they’re treated by the bullies is their own fault. Sadly, when mistreated for too long, the target breaks under the pressure and suicide seems to be the only way out, the only way to make the bullying and the pain stop.

If you see any of these signs in your child or grandchild, DO NOT IGNORE IT OR MINIMIZE IT! Ask questions! Try to get the kid to open up about what’s troubling him or her. It won’t be easy. Children—especially teens—don’t like to admit to being bullied, even to their own family. But if you want to help, you have to address it. And you have to do it gently and lovingly.

About the Author

Cherie White

Cherie White, both a writer and author, joined the team after being discovered by Brian through her own personal blog and through social media. She has been writing ever since she was ten years old and has a love for writing articles, short stories and novels. She became intrigued with the new Pyngby app because it helps victims pinpoint victims and their harassers for easy protection and litigation if need be. Because she experienced severe bullying from sixth grade until changing schools during her last year of high school, she has a passion for spreading bullying awareness and helping those who are bullied and abused today. Her goal is to bring down the suicide rate among bullied children, teens and young adults. Her debut novel, “From Victim to Victor” will be available in mid-2017. Cherie looks forward to helping victims through Watchdog Creative.

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