The effects of bullying on a child’s self-esteem can be devastating long after the bullying stops. Even a child who is only bullied once in his or her life can suffer long-lasting effects. Of course, children who suffer through years of torment and torture are likely to exhibit even more severe self-esteem issues. Some of the effects are blatant and a direct result of the bullying, while others can be more subtle and result from other effects of the torment. Understanding how bullying affects a child’s self-esteem can help alleviate some of the long-term damage. Learning about the different effects can also encourage more parents to get involved in preventing bullying.
Effects of Bullying on a Child’s Self Esteem
- Loss of confidence. One of the first effects of bullying on a child’s self esteem is self-doubt, or loss of confidence. The child may feel like he is not as good at a particular sport as the bully, or that he shouldn’t even bother trying out for a team. The sad thing is, many times the bullied child IS good at a particular activity, and the bully is jealous of his talents so does whatever he can to belittle the target.
- Self-Criticism or Rejection. When children are constantly belittled about something, they come to believe it is true. When they’re belittled over something they can’t possibly change, such as their height, skin color, or other physical attribute, it becomes even more damaging to their self esteem. They tend to believe that they are less of a person simply because someone else constantly makes fun of them due to their differences. Children should be taught that everyone is different in one way or another, and that is what makes the human species so exciting. If we were all the same, we’d be boring!
- Bed-Wetting. One of the more subtle effects of bullying on a child’s self esteem involves bed-wetting. Research indicates that children who are bullied tend to be more prone to wetting the bed later into their childhood years, which in turn damages their self-esteem and causes them to avoid overnight social situations like sleepovers and camp.
- Isolation-When a child’s self esteem becomes severely damaged, he or she may choose to avoid friends and family altogether. The child may also become depressed or anxious. Isolation can lead to deeper issues, and can also make it more difficult to see those issues arise. If your child is spending all his free time in his room alone, you are less likely to notice other changes in behavior.
The effects of bullying on a child’s self esteem ultimately depend on the child being bullied. Some children are better able to cope with such torment than others. Still, no child should have to put up with being made to feel small and helpless. Bullying affects more than just a child’s self-esteem during the school years. It can follow them long into adulthood and wreak havoc on all their future relationships. In worst case scenarios, children who are bullied can become suicidal, homicidal, or bullies themselves later in life. Stopping the cycle early is vital.