Anyone of any age can suffer bullying. Bullying is a common social problem in schools, day care settings, workplaces, social groups, elder care environments and even at home within families. While adults have more options to deal with these negative interactions, children often feel left vulnerable and alone in front of their bully. If your child is being bullied, child therapy can help. In fact, individual counseling and family therapy are beneficial tools for people of all ages suffering abuse.
Therapy helps victims of bullying learn effective skills for stopping these interactions. Child therapy can help even the youngest individuals learn new skills, just as individual counseling helps adults. Family therapy helps heal families and break abusive cycles. This counseling is a safe and supportive place to deal with feelings arising because of others' abusive behaviors. Even bullies, themselves, can benefit from individual counseling and behavioral therapies, to stop hurting others.
What Causes Bullying?
There are many reasons why people lash out at others through bullying. But some of the most common causes of this negative social dynamic include:
- They were bullied, themselves
- Loneliness and seeking attention from others
- Frustration or envy
- Shame or absence of personal integrity
- Aggressive behavior under "gender norms"
Bullies tend to have several traits in common with others who lash out abusively. They are typically lonely and have few friends, if any. They are also often lacking in psychological well-being, empathy and personal integrity. In fact, bullying behaviors are often a characteristic of deeper personal needs or mental health problems.
Why Is My Child Bullied?
There are many reasons why people can fall victim to bullies. Once almost exclusively an in-person behavior, changes in technology have enabled bullying even through electronic means.
According to Boston Children's Hospital, individuals are more likely bullied when they fall into these population groups:
- Distinctive physical features differing from their peers
- Suffering cognitive disabilities
- Identifying as LGBTQIA+
- Being labeled as annoying
- Being small, weak or defenseless
- Seen as socially awkward or having few friends
Signs of Bullying
Do you suspect your child is being bullied? There are multiple warning signs you can look for to identify these problems. These signs include:
- Fear or reluctance about going to school
- Frequent and unexplained headaches, stomach aches and other ill feelings
- Frequent nightmares and sleep problems
- Avoiding social situations
- Unexplained injuries
- Irritability and low self-esteem
- Lost personal belongings
- Appetite changes
- Poor grades in school
Even if your child will not talk to you about bullying, they can find support through child therapy. Older individuals experiencing these targeted behaviors can benefit from individual counseling for teens or adults.
How Bullying Affects Well-Being
Victims of bullying suffer a great deal, often in complete silence. They feel angry, anxious and afraid of the person inflicting this harm on them. But they also feel isolated and ashamed, despite none of this problem being their fault. Over time, these feelings harm their well-being. But therapy can help bullied victims process their feelings and develop new skills for handling people who try to abuse them.
Through therapy, people of all ages can learn better coping skills for problems like bullying. They also learn that being a victim affects other areas of their lives, such as their socialization, self-esteem and relationships with others. Therapy can teach how to recognize early signs of potential for abuse. It also teaches how to communicate assertively and set solid boundaries for others. For children, a therapist can advocate with the school while helping the child improve their self-esteem and mental well-being.
Can Bullies Benefit from Therapy?
Bullies often benefit from therapy. Initially, they may push back against going to individual counseling, psychotherapy or even family therapy. They may also struggle to admit that they bully others. But once in a therapeutic environment, many are able to understand that they are hurting others and acting out in negative ways. Eventually, it is often possible to help a bully consider why they behave in this manner and develop new skills for healthy socialization.
Many bullies have underlying emotional or psychological wounds, themselves. Some have learned their aggressive behaviors at home, among family. They benefit from addressing these issues and the healing that therapy can bring. Therapy can help break the cycle of abuse that many bullies suffer.
Raleigh, NC Therapy for Bullying and Abuse
If you or your child are suffering bullying or abuse, therapy will help. In Raleigh, NC, Greene Psychology Group offers an array of therapies for individuals of all ages and their families. These in-person sessions take place in our Raleigh office. Or, you can benefit from online therapy we offer throughout the state of North Carolina. Schedule your first visit today by calling 919-205-5339.