How Bullying Affects Self Esteem and Health

Bullying is a problem that many children experience outside the home, especially at school. Contrary to the belief that bullying is a normal part of childhood that one should not worry about, it’s actually quite important for parents to get involved in their children’s lives and make sure that they are not being bullied. Bullying can have some serious effects on your child’s self-esteem and health – effects that could last way beyond childhood.

Low Self-Esteem

A child who is regularly bullied can eventually develop low self-esteem. Self-esteem is usually defined as an individual’s perception of himself. It can also be measured by how much the person appreciates and loves himself. Needless to say, a person’s childhood years are extremely important because it is a time that can affect the formation of his self-esteem. If your kid is constantly being harassed at school – whether physically or verbally – then he will gradually come to lose confidence in himself.

He might even come to dislike himself for his so-called “weaknesses” or “flaws”. For instance, if he is getting bullied because he is overweight, then he will start disliking himself for being on the pudgy side. If he is getting teased by other children regarding his glasses, then he might want to stop wearing them. This is a time when it’s crucial for you to talk to your child and protect him against the effects of bullying. Perhaps it might help to make him understand how each child is different, and that he should be proud of his own uniqueness.

Isolation and Depression

If your child is a victim of bullying and has developed low self-esteem, then he might eventually experience isolation and depression as well. You will notice your child becoming isolated when he becomes less socially active. For fear or being bullied, your kid might choose to stay away from any social gatherings. He might prefer to stay home instead to watch TV or surf the web. It’s also probable that he will start showing dislike towards going to school.

If your child used to be a normal happy kid, but seems to be unhappy lately, then he could be experiencing bullying at school. If you feel that your child is becoming isolated, then it might be a good idea to encourage him to enroll in a hobby or a team sports, where he might have fun with other children in a friendly environment.

Overeating and Weight Gain

Overeating and weight gain are two common effects of bullying in children. Since bullying can cause stress and depression, your child might cope with these negative emotions by regularly consuming comfort foods like fast foods, ice cream, cookies, candy bars and other junk foods. Needless to say, these fattening foods will eventually cause your child to gain some weight.

Since your child will want to spend more of his time indoors doing sedentary activities, like playing videogames or watching TV, he will also have more difficulty burning off excess calories and fats. You can address this situation by replacing the junk food in your house with healthy snacks and making exercise a regular family activity.

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