A child bullied at school can suffer both emotionally and physically. This is because bullying really is a type of abuse, reports the National Mental Health Information Center. The effects of school bullying are much the same as a child suffering from other forms of abuse. In some cases, the effects are subtle and are not easily recognized by parents.
The first signs of bullying may not be obvious to parents. Your child may try to hide the bullying out of embarrassment and may lie when you ask questions. According to the National Mental Health Information Center, these subtle signs include coming home with dirty and torn clothes and having damaged or lost books or other items for which he doesn’t have an explanation. Children may also take the long way home from school to avoid the bully. Another sign may be the stealing of money from family members to appease the bully.
Not feeling safe and comfortable at school will impact a child’s academic performance negatively. Lack of interest and slipping grades can be caused by bullying. Children may also display outright fear at going to school and be difficult to get ready for school in the morning. A child may procrastinate or even be openly defiant about getting ready to go to school.
Bullying makes children feel as if they don’t fit in, and it becomes difficult to make friends with peers. As a result, victims of bullies often don’t have many friends from school, reports the National Mental Health Information Center. They don’t tend to invite school friends to their house or go to the houses of other school friends.
Those bullied may have trouble sleeping, suffer from exhaustion or suffer regular nightmares. The lack of sleep and emotional strain of bullying eventually turns into physical symptoms. This may include not eating, having headaches, stomachaches, anxiety and irrational mood swings. Children may claim to feel sick more than usual to avoid going to school.
School bullying can happen at any age, from preschool to high school. However, once a child reaches the teenage years, the effects of bullying can become life threatening. Science Daily reports that victims of bullies can develop extremely poor self-esteem and the clinical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In a 1999 study published in the “British Medical Journal,” teenage victims of bullying were found to be at a higher risk for suffering from depression and committing suicide.
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