Physical Effects of Bullying

A truancy report in 2006 stated that 170,000 children missed school because of bullying and with the rise of the internet and the emergence of cyber bullying, this number has only risen. Once thought as a way of ‘adding to their character’ and making children tougher, bullying is now recognized as a traumatic experience which affects children well into their adult like, if not forever. The emotional and psychological impact on the bullied individual has been thoroughly observed but the physical effects are less well-known, despite being the main indicators of the problem.

The psychological effects of bullying can vary and the severity can often be dependent on how long the individual is bullied and how quickly the problem is resolved. Many children can recover from their ordeal with minor anxiety if the bullies are dealt with strictly and quickly. However, the longer the bullying goes on for, the more risk of the effects running into the child’s adult life and effecting them in their future. Anxiety disorders, depression and even Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can all occur as a result of bullying. These can be easily hidden, however, and the bullies will often make the bullied feel as if they can’t tell anyone either through fear or shame. However, the physical signs of bullying can be far more telling as they’re harder to hide.

There’s a difference between the signs of physical bullying and the physical signs themselves. The signs of being physically bullied may be cuts, bruises and torn clothing. However, there are other physical signs which are the body’s way of reacting to stress. An upset stomach, especially before school is a symptom of anxiety; the same can be said of tension headaches or fluctuating appetite and subsequently weight. This constant stress on the body can develop into more serious health problems later on, like high blood pressure, if not addressed. If you spot these signs within your child, ask them gently at a low-stress time, for example, in the evening or at the weekend on a walk. If you ask them in the morning before school when they’re incredibly stressed, they may snap or lie in order to not confront the situation and make themselves more anxious.

If you believe your child is being bullied, it’s essential that you talk to a teacher at their school. This way, the problem can be seen to as soon as possible. A teacher is more likely to have seen suspicious behavior on school grounds and can also deal with it in a professional, objective manner.

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