How to Counter the Devastating Effects of Verbal Bullying

Words are real things – they can lift us up or pull us down.Verbal bullying is a means of using words in a negative way such as insults, teasing, put downs, etc., to gain power over someone else’s life. Learn about the Effects of Verbal Bullying!

Many people’s lives have been destroyed by verbal abuse at home, in schools and business settings. Children and teens have suffered mentally, physically and emotionally due to abusive language. In some cases, these attacks have led to years of anxiety, depression and even death.

Bullying is a major problem in the U.K. In 2013, the Department for Children’s Schools and Families reported that almost 46% of school age children and teens confessed to being bullied at school; 40% had negative experiences with cyber-bullying. In 2011/12, about 32,000 children phoned ChildLine to receive help with bullying problems.

Types and effects of Verbal Bullying

Verbal abuse can be manifested in a number of ways. At home, it can be very easy for parents and siblings to fall into this trap by inventing nicknames with negative connotations to someone in the family. A child who is overweight, for example, may be nicknamed “fatty” or “porky.” As a parent, you may not intentionally mean to hurt your child, but these insults can be ingrained in his or her mind and result in negative repercussions over time.

Name calling is but one form of abuse commonly used against children. Verbal bullying can also take the form of criticism, putting others down, spreading false rumours or threatening to cause someone harm. Listening to negative comments on a regular basis can eventually tear down anyone’s confidence and esteem, not to mention ruin their reputation. Young children are especially susceptible to this type of abuse, causing them to feel rejected and unloved. For this reason, parents and schools are taking a firm stance against verbal abuse at home and in the school environment.

Effects of Verbal Bullying and Dealing with Verbal Bullies

Parents can play a key role in the fight against verbal bullies by taking greater interest in their kids’ lives. Young children need someone they can talk to as they grow. By establishing this kind of relationship with your child, you can better help him through the difficulties of life.

Many kids will confess when they are being bullied in school, but others will not. Changes in a child’s attitudes and behavior are indications that something may be wrong. If your normally outgoing child who loves school suddenly becomes quiet, reticent and fearful of school, he or she may be a victim of bullying. Through open communication, you can uncover abusive situations in your kids’ lives and provide the encouragement, help and support they need to resolve these problems.

Ignorance is never bliss when it comes to dealing with bullies. As a parent, you have every right to confront the situation head on and see that it gets resolved. The first step is to report abusive behaviour to teachers and school administrators so they can get actively involved. Most UK schools have programs in place to handle bullying situations, to include training programs for teachers and staff to help them recognize bullying tactics and intervene as they arise. By working with school officials, measures can be taken to get the problem resolved. In the meantime, you should continue to communicate with your child to ensure he is safe from danger and harm.

Combating Negative Effects of Verbal Bullying

With some children, the effects of verbal abuse can be seen right away. They may become anxious, angry or fearful or show signs of physical illness such as nausea, headaches or chills. Other children may not have outward symptoms of abuse, but inwardly they’re suffering from feelings of rejection, inferiority or fear. As a parent, you’ll need to help your child sort out these feelings so he can move on.

Bullying victims often tend to separate themselves from others in an effort to avoid further hurt and pain. As a parent, you should encourage your child to participate in organized social activities to develop new friendships and feel like he belongs. Through these activities, your child can also improve social skills that will benefit him as he grows.

If your child has an interest or ability in a certain area, such as music, art or sports, encourage him to develop this talent to reinforce his confidence and self-esteem. By being positive, supportive and accepting of your child at all times, he will come to value himself as an individual and overcome any negative effects bullying may have caused.

Albert D. Sant