The impact of bullying on children with social anxiety

For children with social anxiety disorder, school bullying may be a particular problem. The first step in helping a child who is being bullied is to understand the impact of bullying. Perhaps you have seen changes in your child’s behavior, which worry you, and you may want to know the following:

  • What are the immediate and long-term effects of bullying?
  • Does bullying make your child’s social anxiety worse?
  • What can you do to help your child cope?

How common is bullying?

Bullying is becoming more and more common in schools and playgrounds. Whether it is cyberbullying, school harassment or physical violence on the school bus, many children live in fear.

About one in five children are bullied from elementary school to high school. If you have a child with social anxiety, bullying may be more common.

Bullies will bully children who cannot protect themselves. Sometimes, victims of bullying may even become bullies themselves.

Signs of a child being bullied

How to tell if a child with social anxiety disorder is being bullied? Look for warning signs, such as:

  • Change the desire to go to school
  • Damaged or missing items
  • Sadness or anxiety
  • Physical illness
  • Trouble sleeping
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Hidden bullying and long-term effects

Most children who are bullied will not tell anyone. In particular, older boys are less likely to report bullying. Pay attention to changes in your child’s behavior and emotions so that you can spot hidden bullying behaviors.

The long-term effects of bullying on children may include self-esteem and anxiety issues.If you suspect that bullying is occurring, it is important to intervene as soon as possible.

Why bullies target people with social anxiety

For a variety of reasons, children with social anxiety are targeted by bullies. Specifically, bullies often target children who exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Have a few friends or spend a lot of time alone
  • lack of confidence
  • Looks fragile and has low self-esteem
  • Poor social skills or problems developing friendships

Children with few friends cannot defend themselves, and children with low self-worth may not be able to stand up for themselves.

Bullying makes social anxiety worse

Several studies have been conducted to investigate the impact of bullying behavior on rodents (such as mice or rats). Although this sounds strange, it is believed that rodents and humans have similar stress responses, so this type of research is meaningful.

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In one study, mice were affected by “rat bullying” for 10 days, and the brain changes of stressed mice were examined. The results indicate that the hormone vasopressin is activated, leading to an increase in brain receptors that are sensitive to social stimuli. After the stress, the bullied mouse stays away from all other rats, even friendly rats. This suggests that humans may have the same reaction: long-term bullying may increase stress hormones, leading to a decrease in social behavior.

In the second study, rats were under social pressure, but were either raised with another mouse before or after the pressure, or raised separately. The results of the study showed that stress rats that were paired with friends before and after were more resilient and were able to recover better. This research shows that even just one friend may protect your child from bullying.

In a study related to humans, researchers found the following:

  • Bullying in adolescence increases the risk of social anxiety symptoms
  • Boys with social anxiety are more likely to be bullied
  • For children with social anxiety disorder, reporting bullying can be extremely difficult
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How to deal with bullying

Although you may want to deal with bullying related to your child yourself, there are steps you can take to help alleviate the situation and protect your child.

  • Be open to bullying discussions and don’t criticize how your child has handled the situation so far.
  • Inform your child’s teacher and principal of the bullying behavior. Make sure that your child has an adult at school who can tell if he is being bullied.
  • Encourage your children to build friendships in school. Make sure she can go to a safe place outside of school, such as the home of her parents in the neighborhood, when she feels threatened.
  • If your child’s school has not implemented a bullying prevention plan, you may want to make suggestions.

Very good sentence

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, take the situation seriously. Children will feel embarrassed and ashamed of admitting to being bullied, so your support is very important. Keep calm, talk to the school, and give your child the skills to deal with this situation.


The impact of bullying on children with social anxiety
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