One of the most common concerns that arise in counseling with children and teens is the aspect of bullying. Bullying can have lasting effects on a person’s self-esteem and view of himself.
Dr. Susan Swearer, bullying expert, discussed in an article on the APA website (2010) how bullying is not a new issue. She discussed how a researcher in the early 1980s began studying bullying as a result of three boys ages 10 to 14 that committed suicide in 1982 due to being bullied. Dr. Swearer stated that where in the past bullying could only occur during face-to-face encounters, now with the widespread use of technology, bullying can occur seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Dr. Swearer (2010) discussed that parents and teachers must intervene when they see bullying take place. The student(s) who are doing the bullying must be told to stop. The bullying behaviors need to be documented and be kept as records. One of the most important steps to take is for the victim to feel that they have a support network of students and adults. The student who is being bullied should feel connected to school and home. Students who are being bullied may also benefit from either individual or group therapy in a place where they are able to express their feelings.
Researchers have attempted to look at a student’s risk factor for committing suicide as a result of bullying. Every story has been found to be different but the one thing that is known is that depression is a risk factor for committing suicide; therefore, symptoms of depression in students should be taken very seriously and properly treated. Dr. Swearer discussed the importance of parents monitoring their child’s behavior online in order to ensure their child is not bullying others or a victim of bullying. Bullying is a real problem for children and teens and any psychologist who works with young people, who are being bullied, should assess and treat any signs of depression or anxiety and provide the proper support that the young person needs. (Swearer, 2010)
Swearer, S. (2010, April 2). Bullying: What parents, teachers can do to stop it. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/04/bullying.aspx
Cindy A. Geil, M.A.
WKPIC Doctoral Intern