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How to Help When Your Teen Is Getting Bullied

a teen does not respond well to social media bullying

The National Center for Education Statistics states that one in every four students experiences bullying throughout the school year. Bullying can severely affect a teen’s mental and physical health, impacting their relationships and even their academic future. Treatment programs designed for helping bullied teens can offer the help they need.

If you suspect your teen is getting bullied, acting quickly is important. Contact Imagine Boise at 888.597.2807 to learn how to recognize the signs of bullying and see what steps you can take to help.

Teen Getting Bullied: Signs to Watch For

Teens getting bullied tend to feel shame at what they experience and might try to hide the bullying from parents and other adults.

Being able to recognize bullying is the first step in offering the help your child needs. You should watch for the following signs of bullying:

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Isolation
  • Feeling ill or faking illness
  • Disruption of sleeping patterns
  • Nightmares
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lost or destroyed clothes, jewelry, devices, and other property
  • Declining grades
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Self-harm

If you notice signs of bullying, speak with your child about it. Listen calmly to them and allow them to express themselves as they need to, without judgment. Let them know you believe them and that it is not their fault while reassuring them you will do everything possible to help them.

Why Do Teens Get Bullied?

One of the questions most parents have as they help a child who is experiencing bullying is, “Why do teens get bullied?” But there is no single reason some teens are bullied more than others.

It is important to note that teen brains are not fully developed yet. The area in the brain responsible for impulse control, executive planning, and rational thought, called the prefrontal cortex, does not develop completely until the age of 25.

When making decisions, teens might rely on the amygdala, which is directly associated with aggression, instinctive behavior, emotions, and impulses. Teens, therefore, make more decisions based on impulse than rational thoughts, leading to bullying behavior.

Teens sometimes single out and bully those who appear different — prejudice is a common motivation for bullying. Other bullies target a peer in an attempt to establish their social dominance over a group.

Helping Your Child

A teen getting bullied needs help. If the bullying occurs at school, speak with teachers and other administrators to inform them about the situation. Ask about the school’s bullying policy and code of conduct.

Make sure that your child sees you as a support system. Encourage them to tell you about their fears and worries to help them feel less isolated.

You should also turn to professional help. During therapy, your child can receive guidance on dealing with the psychological effects of bullying. Teens getting bullied are more prone to developing depression, anxiety, and even PTSD, so quickly tackling the emotional scars bullying leaves is crucial.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the therapy options most useful in cases of bullying. A therapist will help a teen recognize negative thoughts that arise from traumatic experiences and show them how to modify those thoughts.

CBT utilizes role-playing techniques to increase a teen’s communication skills, helping them tackle difficult interactions. It is a therapy option that many experts rely on when helping bullied teens.

Imagine Boise: Helping Bullied Teens

A teen getting bullied will not always know how to get help. You can offer your child the support they need by recognizing signs of bullying and knowing what steps to take. Learn more about the effects of bullying and the treatments available by calling Imagine Boise at 888.597.2807.