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06-15 Coping with teen bullying

Coping with teen bullying

“Kids can be cruel,” the commonplace saying goes. Unfortunately, bullying can truly be an undesirable byproduct of the transition of growing up. This is not a terribly surprising phenomenon during the teen years either, as such adjustments may lead to insecurities or awkwardness. Some choose to deal with these intense emotions by belittling others to reinforce their self-worth. Teens are still reaching emotional and physical maturity, so while such behavior may be understandable, that doesn’t make it acceptable.

Studies have shown that about one quarter of adolescents aged 12 to 18 are victims of bullying, which can be defined as purposeful, aggressive actions targeting a specific victim. The perpetrator may use coercion or other means of force to intimidate the person. This cycle will occur numerous times, indicating an ongoing problem. There are multiple forms of bullying. This may include harassment of a verbal, sexual or physical nature. Gossip or spreading rumors can also hurt the victim. A peer group may also seek to exclude a particular person of whom they disapprove.

Nowadays, bullying can take place digitally on the Internet. When electronic devices are used as a platform for repeated harassment, it is a form of bullying known as “cyberbullying.” Unlike traditional bullying, there is no face-to-face interaction when it comes to bullying online. As one may expect, this dynamic might cause the bully to act more viciously than normal. They do not necessarily have to deal with immediate repercussions of their behavior and may say things that they would never discuss in person. If they are unable to see the victim’s expression, they may not be aware if they have crossed a breaking point. The online platform allows bullying to occur at any hour of the day, adding even more anxiety to the situation.

How to cope

One difficulty that often arises in cases of bullying is that the victim may be afraid of how to proceed. They may fear that the abuser will retaliate if a parent or teacher becomes aware of the situation. Some also believe that if they tell somebody or seek assistance, that the bullying will worsen. The victim may also not share details of the incident because they are humiliated or embarrassed by their situation.

There are different methods of coping with a bully when a victim is being harassed. For instance, the victim may simply choose to ignore the attacker. This strategy may include walking away and maintaining a calm demeanor. Acting angry or resorting to violence merely gives the abuser the attention or power that they seek. Another option for the victim is to seek support from loved ones. Trustworthy adults can help the teen speak up for themselves, reach out to a teacher or counselor for help or just provide the moral support he or she needs to get through the situation. The teen may seek out a new hobby or group activity with others to further avoid confrontation.

There are other options to avoid confrontations with a bully. One is packing a lunch for school if the bully is attempting to bother other students for their lunch money. Individuals targeted by bullies can plan fun and entertaining events for the weekend to distract themselves from the teasing. If the confrontations become especially anxiety-inducing, victims should arrange to sit down with the bully and an authority figure to work through the problem.

Effective treatment

One treatment that is often used for victims of bullying is cognitive behavioral therapy. This has been shown to be an effective treatment for bullying-related symptoms such as depression, anxiety, drug abuse, low self-esteem and more. Participants will learn how to better control their thoughts and behaviors. Destructive thinking will be done away with and, instead, an improved sense of confidence and assertiveness will be encouraged.

Social anxiety issues may also be addressed between a patient and a mental health professional in this therapy. This will help the teen to overcome their fear of such situations, so that they may find others to befriend. Of course, this will also help prevent an individual from fixating or dwelling on a bully. Those who have been bullied for great lengths of time may have fear about being accepted in social situations, which is why this therapy may prove to be a solution. Sovereign Health offers cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as a number of additional therapies to treat teens who bully or experience the negative effects of bullying. Please contact our admissions team today at (866) 577-3633 to see how we can best assist an adolescent toward recovery today.

Contributed by Sovereign Health Web Content Writer, Ryan McMaster

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