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Many adults retain horrible memories of their school years, in large part due to the bullying they experienced. Teenage bullying has always been and continues to be a very real problem in schools. There are different types of bullying, including verbal and emotional bullying. These types of bullying, though more subtle than physical bullying, can still have a large impact on a person. Additionally, with the Internet and social media now becoming a huge part of many teenager’s lives, it is no surprise that cyber bullying is seeing an increase.

Bullying includes behaviours that focus on making someone else feel inadequate, or focus on belittling someone else. Bullying includes harassment, physical harm, repeatedly demeaning speech and efforts to ostracize another person. Bullying is active, and is mostly done with the intention of bringing another person down. There can be occasions though when Bullying is done without intention, often in younger children, where the bullying behaviour they portray is considered normal within their home environments.

Statistics suggest that teenage bullying is more common among younger teens than it is among older teens. However, it may be that young teens are more prone to physical bullying, which is easier to identify, and that older teens are more sophisticated in methods of bullying that are not always exactly identified as such.

There are a number of effects that come with teenage bullying. There are the obvious physical problems and injuries that can result from physical bullying, however, emotional, verbal and cyber bullying can deeply affect teens as well. These activities can lead to depression, stress, low self-esteem and can affect a person well into adulthood.

The Bullied

Our therapy programme can help people who are affected by bullying behaviours in several ways.  We can explore coping mechanisms, promote exploration of engaging with other people in the support network and help to maintain an individual’s self-esteem.   We cannot change the behaviour of other people, however, we look at solutions that help to change the situations, behaviours and reactions to the bullying experiences that can help minimise its impact.

The Bully

As therapists, we are also aware that the Bully themselves may need support.  Bullying behaviour can be as a result of complicated factors such as social and family environments, the need for power, exposure to games and media.  Raising awareness, working within the support network, managing the environment, raising self-esteem and self-worth are options open to us in helping someone change their bullying behaviours.