Is your Teen the bully or the bullied?

We all have our different perceptions and definitions of bullying, some say it is a behaviour, often repeated and habitual which involves the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. Others have defined it as the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate; Also, the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines bullying as abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, or more powerful.

At some point in our teenage lives or high school, we may have been involved in Bullying, either as a victim or as the bully. Some of us left that phase of life with the thought, “thank God it’s over”; while others carried on to their adult lives, with the effects of teenage bullying; scarred for life or became even bigger bullies in their adult life.

It’s no wonder various organizations have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the system finds ways to reduce significantly and suppress, and hopefully eliminate bullying from the teen scene, they are afterall, the leaders of tomorrow. What a world it would be if we were being led by the bullies of yesterday.

Studies by an organization BullyingNoWay; which advocates against bullying have shown that bullying causes physical and/or psychological harm.  The organization defines bullying to be an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can also happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Why did I take out this much time to define and explain the term bullying? This is simple. We may have outgrown that time or left that phase behind, but in recent times and with the social media age, bullying has gotten bigger and meaner. You do not want your teenage girl to drop into some unexplainable depression because she is being bullied, and she feels uncomfortable talking about it.

It’s quite unfortunate that many parents are unable to identify the signs when their child is being bullied. So for this week, I have gathered a few points from Debbie Pincus, sharing from her 25 years’ experience of effective therapy and coaching, helping individuals, couples and parents to heal themselves and their relationships. Here she gives us tips to know the Signs when your child is being bullied from an article on Empowering Parents. She says:

Most kids aren’t going to come home and tell you that they’re being bullied—in fact, many won’t say anything. Your child might feel ashamed or worried that they are to blame somehow, and they become experts at keeping it all inside. What are the signs you need to know as a parent?

  • Reluctance to go to school or to get on the computer.
  • Your child’s mood changes after looking at their cell phone or going on Facebook.
  • Your child may not want to get on the school bus; begs you for rides to school every day.
  • Is frequently sick, with headaches and sleeping problems—and often wants to stay home from school.
  • You might notice damaged or missing belongings, or that your child keeps losing money or other valuable items.
  • Unexplained injuries or bruises.
  • Your child doesn’t seem to be eating his lunch—he comes home unusually hungry, or his lunch comes back home with him.
  • He might be moody, anxious, depressed, or withdrawn.

While exhibiting one or more of these signs might not necessarily mean that your child is being bullied (or cyberbullied), these are essential things to pay attention to if you suspect something is going on.

That said, I will be coming back in the following weeks, with tips on what you should do as a parent when your teenager is being bullied.

See you then.

Boma Benjy Iwuoha


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