Bullying is never ok and is something you and your child should never have to go through. However, the situation can become even more complicated when it turns into emotional bullying.
What is emotional bullying?
Emotional abuse is often the most common form of bullying that takes place amongst the tween age group and can be just as hurtful as physical bullying. Emotional bullying is when your tween’s peers and classmates deliberately cause distress towards your child. This often results in your child having low self-esteem, avoiding situations and becoming withdrawn. Emotional bullying could involve your tween’s peers spreading rumours about them, deliberately excluding them from games and group activities, talking about them behind their backs and intentionally hurting your child’s feelings.
Emotional bullying can often be caused by your tween’s supposed friends, which makes it harder for your tween to confront. But remind your tween that if their friends constantly hurt them with deliberate emotional actions, it is bullying and they shouldn't tolerate it. Encourage your tween to stand up for themselves. This is not always easy. But if bullies see that your tween is susceptible to being treated badly, they will continue this way and often their behaviour will worsen. Sometimes you as a parent might have to act and may have to go above your tween’s head, especially if it is taking place in school. Remember, emotional bullying is not something your tween should have to put up with and their school experience should be a safe, as well as an enjoyable one.
It may take a while for your tween to get over any emotional bullying that has occurred, especially if their self-esteem has been damaged as a result. The best thing to do is to help build your tween’s confidence and remind them what they are good at. Sometimes, it might be necessary to get outsider help which could include counselling. Emotional bullying often still affects many people years after it occurred, so it is definitely not something to take lightly.
But most importantly, explain to your tween they are not the only one to go through this. It is something that unfortunately occurs all the time, even with adults. While it might hurt now, it’s not something that has to define them and will eventually, make your tween stronger in the long run.