Dealing with Bullying: How to Help Your Teen

Teens can be mean to each other without any reason, and even with a reason, it’s not nice to treat anyone without respect. A lot of bullying and rumor spreading has shifted to the world of social media and teens are being cyber bullied by their friends and peers—even strangers—over the internet. This can be dangerous because bullying becomes less apparent to teachers and parents who aren’t linked in to their students’ and kids’ social media.

There have been several high-profile cases in the media over the past few years of teens who have committed suicide or had charges pressed for acts of violence, sexual violence and harassment because of cyber bullying. Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd are two Canadian teens who committed suicide because of separate cases of cyber-bullying and sexual harassment. In 2013, two high school boys from Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty of rape that was brought to light through social media. The victim was continuously harassed and bullied online and at school after the photos were uploaded to Facebook.

Signs your teen is being bullied:

  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches and phone calls home from school
  • Change in eating and sleeping habits, including nightmares
  • Self-destructive behavior, including running away from home, self-harm or talk of suicide
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social activities

Teens rarely come forward when they’re being bullied, unless the situation is extreme. But even then, it’s possible for a teen to keep everything to themselves and carry the burden of the bully on their shoulders. If you as a parent are aware of a problem, address it privately with your teen, not when they’re surrounded by friends. Teach your teen to be assertive, even though it will be hard to do, especially if they’re encountering bulling from their friends. Make sure you listen to every detail of the story to know how to best handle the situation and dish out advice. If the situation escalates, you may need to consider involving other parents, teachers or coaches.

Feature Image: lee Scott