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Is My Child Being Bullied?

troubled teenage girl looking at phone while her parents worry is my child being bullied

Teenage bullying can be difficult to recognize because it is typically less physical than bullying in younger children, and most teens do their best to try to hide it. Bullying is painful and embarrassing for teens. There are many reasons teens keep bullying to themselves. They may fear retaliation, believe they deserve the treatment or worry that parents or other adults will blame them. Bullying is serious and can have devastating effects. Parents and educators must be able to recognize the signs of bullying.

Imagine Nampa provides holistic behavioral and mental health care for teens ages 12-17. Our trauma-informed approach is ideal for helping teens cope with bullying. Whether your teen is the victim or perpetrator of bullying, our psychotherapy program for teens can help. Reach out to our team at 888.503.4604 to learn more.

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Bullying

Recognizing the signs of bullying is the first step in helping your teen. However, to recognize the signs of bullying, one needs a clear understanding of what bullying is.

Bullying is not the same as teasing. Teasing, however cruel it can sometimes be, is an occasional occurrence that creates acute pain but doesn’t have long-term impacts. Bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior that occurs with repetition. Bullying can result in mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, self-harm, eating disorders, or substance use disorders.

Signs your teen is being bullied can include:

  • Declining school performance
  • Anxiety about going to school, avoiding going, or skipping
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Injuries they can’t or won’t explain
  • Missing or damaged belongings
  • Sleep disruptions, including nightmares
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Self-harm
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Somatic complaints, like headaches or stomachaches

As important as knowing if your teen is being bullied is knowing if your teen is bullying others. Perpetrators of bullying often have their own issues, including being bullied themselves. Signs your teen is a bully can include:

  • Displays a lack of empathy
  • Blames others for their mistakes
  • Has friends who act aggressively
  • Has behavioral issues at home and school
  • Acts aggressively toward siblings
  • Likes to control situations and others
  • Exhibits sneaky behaviors
  • Lacks age-appropriate coping skills
  • Equates fear with power
  • Has negative attention-seeking behaviors

Knowing why bullies behave the way they do provides insight into how to help change their behavior and address their underlying issues.

What Behaviors Constitute Bullying?

Bullying is a form of violent or aggressive behavior used to frighten deliberately, upset, threaten, or harm a person, their reputation, their social status, or their property. Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional, or psychological and occur in person, behind someone’s back, or through social media.

Examples of bullying include:

  • Ongoing name-calling, insults, or teasing
  • Threats of physical harm
  • Actual acts of physical harm (hitting, kicking, punching, etc.)
  • Taking or damaging property
  • Socially isolating someone
  • Gossiping or spreading rumors
  • Purposefully embarrassing someone
  • Making inappropriate sexual comments
  • Pushing or tripping
  • Online harassment

Bullying is not a school-only-related phenomenon. In addition to cyberbullying, teens can also experience bullying in public spaces, among neighbors, in workplaces, via the phone, and even in their homes.

Learn More About Identifying and Coping with Bullying at Imagine Nampa

At Imagine Nampa, we know that being the victim of bullying can lead to severe mental health crises and even suicide and that even witnessing bullying can have psychological impacts. We also know that the act of bullying is often the symptom of a more significant problem, such as trauma or mental health disorders.

Our psychotherapy programs for teens can help them process and cope with the effects of bullying and rebuild their self-esteem and confidence. We provide holistic and evidence-based treatment modalities, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Co-occurring disorders intervention
  • Crisis intervention
  • Trauma therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Art and music therapy

Bullied teens are often reluctant to tell anyone about it or know how to ask for help. If you suspect your teen is being bullied or is bullying others, talk with them and actively listen to what they share. Calm and caring conversations will help them feel loved and supported. Contact Imagine Nampa at 888.503.4604 for more information on bullying, including how we can help your teen.