October is Anti-bullying month. It’s a major problem in schools all over the country today. It’s huge. And now cyber-bullying is on the increase. This past week I listened to a tragic story on the evening news about a teen who committed suicide because of how cyber-bullying had devastated him. How awful.
If your child has been the victim of a bully you know how terrible it is. You’ve seen what it’s done to them. You’ve ached for them, cried with them, worried about them and struggled over what to do.
As parents we want to protect our sons and daughters from every kind of pain. We’ll do anything in our power to shield them from the hurts of life. We’d rather be the one to suffer instead of them. If we could, we’d take their place.
If only we could.
According to a 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), “almost half of tweens and teens report suffering from stress symptoms related to being bullied: Headaches, problems sleeping and eating disorders are a few. Bullying may be the most prevalent form of violence in schools and is likely to affect the greatest number of students.”
It’s not surprising to hear that bullying can also lead to abusive behavior from the victim – sometimes they become a bully themselves – in addition to causing high levels of frustration, anger, sadness, personal suffering, addictions of all kinds and physical disease. I had no idea it could be so detrimental.
I’m not alone. Only ten percent of parents are aware their child is being bullied or that this is the cause of damaging symptoms they’re seeing. That breaks my heart.
If these individuals never receive any kind of professional help, reports show they can suffer in the following ways well into their adult years:
- effective communication
My daughter was a victim of bullying in elementary school, but I never knew about it. She suffered in silence. Common to most victims, she believed it wouldn’t do any good to ask for help. Certain it would only make things worse she kept it a secret. Eventually, she suffered many of these symptoms and long-lasting effects.
But don’t despair. There’s hope for anyone who wants it.
If you suspect your child is being harmed in this way or has been in the past, take them to see a counselor. Your son or daughter may not open up right away, but encourage them to give it a try. It can’t hurt anything. The sooner they get help, the better.
Are you not sure what else you can do? Here’s an excellent source of information to help stop bullying for both parents and schools. Together, we can make a difference. Check it out and if you like what you see go to a key administrator in your child’s school and talk to other parents. Change starts with us.
The BULLY Project is the social action campaign inspired by the award-winning film BULLY. We’ve sparked a national movement to stop bullying that is transforming kids’ lives and changing a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action. The power of our work lies in the participation of individuals like you and the remarkable list of partners we’ve gathered who collectively work to create safe, caring, and respectful schools and communities. Our goal is to reach 10 million kids or more, causing a tipping point that ends bullying in America.
Dear God, please protect those who are being bullied today. Give them courage to stand up to the bully. Convince them they need to let someone know, that others really do care and that they shouldn’t stay silent. Then give the person they go to courage and determination to get involved. Give them wisdom to know how to help in the best way. Equip parents, school personnel and fellow students to defend and come to the aid of those who are being hurt in this way. Amen.