Bullying is a serious problem that all parents must be concerned about when it comes to their children. Bullying is not just a situation wherein bigger children push around smaller or weaker kids. Bullying can have serious effects on your child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. If you notice that your child has been gaining weight, there is also the chance that bullying can be causing this weight gain.
Eating Comfort Foods to Cope With Emotional Distress
Children are extremely sensitive and less equipped with the tools needed to deal with emotional disturbances like stress and depression. If your child is being bullied at school, it’s inevitable that he will start feeling alone, frustrated, angry and stressed out. In order to deal with his negative feelings, your child may seek temporary comfort by eating junk foods such as candy bars, ice cream, donuts, soft drinks and potato chips. As the bullying worsens, your child may reach the point where he is completely dependent on comfort foods. After all, these comfort foods only seek to make him feel better and will never call him names or embarrass him. As your child continues to eat, he will also continue to gain weight. Not only is being overweight dangerous to your child’s health, but it can also be another cause of more bullying. This creates a repetitive and vicious cycle.
You can help your child by addressing the root of the problem, which is the bullying itself. It will also help if you take away the sugary and fatty junk foods from your house and replace them with healthier snacks. Most importantly, lend your child a listening ear. Listen to his problems and thoughts patiently and be careful not to add to the problem by lecturing or being argumentative.
Lack of Physical Activity
A child who is being bullied is also less likely to participate in physical activities such as outdoor games and sports. Since bullies are likely to torment him outside the home, your child will probably prefer to avoid such situations by spending most of his time indoors. Video games and watching television are common activities that he might prefer. Staying indoors most of the time without any physical activity will contribute to your child’s weight gain since he fails to burn calories.
If your child is afraid to join sports or play with other children, try to find other physical activities that he might be able to enjoy. For instance, a lot of children find martial arts interesting so you might want to enroll your child in a karate class. Not only will he lose weight with the exercise but his self-esteem will also increase as he learns a new skill. You can also make physical activities fun family affairs. Go cycling during the weekend or take a family camping trip.