How does bullying affect your child?

Estimated read: 7 minutes 

When a child or young person experiences bullying it can have a huge impact on every aspect of their life.

Key points: 

  • Many young people who have been bullied find it hard to ever feel safe or confident in anything they do, leading them to isolate ourselves from others and to give up the things they enjoy doing
  • If your child is struggling, they may feel unable to attend school and this can cause many issues. It is crucial to speak to the school straight away to get some support in place
  • Bullying can and does affect children and young people physically. They may have little or no appetite, have issues with their sleep and feel constantly stressed out which can have an impact on their health
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Bullying affects young people in many ways. It can impact on their self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, education, and life outside of school. Young people experiencing bullying may feel that they aren’t worth help or that nobody likes them. They may feel self-conscious or embarrassed lots of the time. They may also feel scared, sad, or overwhelmed, and find it difficult to sleep or eat. Many young people who have been bullied find it hard to ever feel safe or confident in anything they do, leading them to isolate ourselves from others and to give up the things they enjoy doing.

The impact on their mental health

Being bullied has a detrimental impact on how children and young people see themselves and can cause scars that stay with them throughout life. It can also lead to very poor outcomes in other areas of their life. It can have a massive impact on mental health, both now and in the future. In fact, research has shown that if you’re bullied as a child or teenager, you might be twice as likely to use mental health services as an adult.

If your child is struggling, they may feel unable to attend school and this can cause many issues. It is crucial to speak to the school straight away to get some support in place. It doesn't matter if you're being bullied at school, at home or online, bullying can mess with your head.

Bullying and self-esteem

When you're being bullied, it can make you feel constantly insecure and you may feel on edge all the time. Children and young people may feel unaccepted, isolated, angry, and withdrawn. They may be thinking of ways of how to make themselves invisible so the bully doesn’t notice them. They may also miss out on opportunities of friendships or social engagements because of the pressure they are under.

The impact on their physical health

Bullying can and does affect children and young people physically. They may have little or no appetite, have issues with their sleep and feel constantly stressed out which can have an impact on their health. It is important to speak to your GP if you are worried so a support plan can be put in place to help them.

Helping your child build resilience 

Helping our children build resilience and confidence is one of the most important gifts we can give them. We all understand how life can bring you many challenges throughout and how important it is on how we manage this. Resilience is being able to manage stress, challenges, trauma or adversity that life brings and bounce back from it. When children and teens are resilient, they are going to be more confident, curious and adaptable to the world around them.

Further resources 

It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.

This page was updated on August 2021

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