WALK OF SHAME- THE EMOTIONAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL SIDE EFFECTS OF BULLYING
Contributor: Natalie Soal, Growing Forward Coaching
Certified Kids Life Studio® Coach, Diploma Child Day Care, Counsellor Paraklesis Ministries
“Bullying is when you tease a person, call them names, hate them and leave them out of your games. Bullies also take your lunch or your lunch money. Sometimes they ignore you exist. Some people are bullied because of their skin colour.” – Jayden* (10)
This is the response I got from ten year old Jayden* when I asked him what bullying was. His face became serious and his eyes darkened slightly as he answered, almost as if he was thinking about a time that he had felt bullied. When Jayden first came to me for Kids Life Coaching he was struggling with high anxiety and poor anger management. During one of our sessions while we were chatting and playing, he told me how he didn’t feel respected. It was interesting to me how a ten year old child could grasp the concept of respect. It was then that I realized how as parents we expect our children to respect us and yet often don’t give them that same respect in return. It is difficult for a child to develop self-respect if it is not being demonstrated to him that he is worthy of respect.
Jayden and I worked together for twelve weeks, building his confidence, developing skills to manage his anxiety and learning about anger management. At the end of our time together, he told me that he felt respected, at home and by his friends. The most positive outcome is that he is no longer a target for bullies. A child with self-respect walks differently, talks differently and exudes a natural confidence.
Bullying is a huge concern for most parents. As moms and dads we hope our children will tell us if they are being bullied, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Being bullied can leave a child or teenager feeling ashamed and humiliated. The bully will use his strength or power to frighten or hurt a weaker person, or make them do something they don’t want to do. This often happens in front of a crowd to add insult to injury. Because of this, a lot of children keep quiet about the bullying they’re dealing with. The long term psychological and emotional effects of bullying are proving to be more detrimental than those on children who have come from broken or abusive homes.
“Adults are talking from an adult point of view when they say, ‘Just stand up to bullies.’ They don’t understand.” – Kevin* (13)
If your child has been bullied you know how devastating it can be. Bullying breaks down their self-esteem as they are battered by angry words or flying fists. Bullying is a big problem in our schools and sometimes even in our homes. Bullies will push, hit, punch and kick to intentionally cause harm to someone. They also use words to ‘dis’, name call, threaten, tease and scare their victims. These victimized children are left feeling lonely, desperate and often depressed. They’re afraid to speak up because of the very real threat of retaliation and they don’t tell their parents or another adult because they don’t trust them to handle the situation properly. When the bullying is ongoing, the child starts to believe that she is inferior, that she isn’t as smart or pretty or as intelligent, and that’s when a profound sense of shame sets in, making her even less likely to share her pain.