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Top 5 Emotional Impacts Bullying Can Have on a Young Child

One of the best concepts we can teach children is to determine if someone is being rude, being mean, or being a bully. AND THEN, what they can do about it.

Being RUDE is when someone says or does something that is hurtful, but didn’t really mean to. You know – it’s like stepping on someone’s foot accidentally, telling a joke that is funny in your head but comes out insensitive, or cutting someone off in traffic that you didn’t see…it’s usually impulsive and can be hurtful. It’s thinking you’re being funny but you’re not.

It’s saying something when it pops into your head instead of thinking about who might be around to hear it…like inviting someone to a sleepover in front of someone else that you don’t want to come over. That’s RUDE behavior.


Bullying can affect anyone, even little kids

Being mean is being RUDE but on purpose. While RUDE is doing something hurtful accidentally or without thinking about who the words or actions might hurt…being MEAN is thinking things through, realizing that someone might get their feelings or their person hurt…AND DOING IT ANYWAY. This is being rude on purpose and is MEAN. And, it’s doing it once or twice. Maybe the mean person has anger or jealously issues, maybe they are insecure, maybe they are having a bad day. Rude and mean behavior needs correction. It’s okay to say “Hey, that was rude when you…” or “That was really mean when you…” and tell the person to stop. Being mean is being rude on purpose several times.

Bullying is an imbalance of power. Bullying is being rude and then mean, over and over again. It’s not accidental, and it continues to happen even after being told to stop.

Bullying is a prevalent issue in society that can have severe emotional impacts on young children. Bullying is defined as unwanted aggressive behavior, which can be physical, verbal, or relational, among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can occur in various forms, including physical violence, possession damage, teasing, taunting, rumor spreading, hazing, and social exclusion.

If a student is being bullied, we can teach him or her to calmly tell the bully to stop, tell a trusted adult, stay away from where the bullying happens, and stay near close friends and adults. There are lots of books and resources on bully prevention – it takes a village. More to come on next steps. Here are the top five emotional impacts bullying can have on young children.

  1. Low self-esteem Bullying can have a significant impact on a child’s self-esteem. When a child is continuously subjected to bullying, they may begin to feel helpless and powerless, leading to a decrease in their self-worth. The negative comments and actions of the bully can cause a child to question their abilities and worth, leading to feelings of shame and inadequacy.
  2. Anxiety and Depression Children who are bullied are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. The constant fear of being bullied and the emotional trauma associated with it can lead to chronic stress and anxiety. The fear of going to school or being around the bully can be overwhelming and can cause feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  3. Trust Issues Children who are bullied may develop trust issues, as they may feel that they cannot rely on anyone to protect them. The emotional trauma associated with bullying can cause a child to become withdrawn and isolated, making it difficult for them to form healthy relationships with peers or adults.
  4. Anger and Aggression Children who are bullied may also develop anger and aggression issues. The constant emotional trauma associated with bullying can lead to feelings of anger and frustration, which can be expressed in various ways, such as lashing out at others, becoming irritable, or engaging in risky behaviors.
  5. Suicidal Ideation In extreme cases, bullying can lead to suicidal ideation. Children who are bullied may feel hopeless and powerless, and may not see a way out of their situation. The constant fear and anxiety associated with bullying can become overwhelming, leading a child to consider or attempt suicide.

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