Bullying is a problem in schools and playgrounds all over the world.
The trauma of being bullied can persist for a long time - even for the rest of a child's life. This is particularly true if the child does not experience some resolution of the problem, or masters more varied and better coping mechanisms. The long term effects of bullying depend less on what actually occurs than on how the child learns to cope with the situation.
Victims of bullying who think of themselves as somehow defective or deficient tend to cope less well than children who learn to understand that the problem resides in the bully or in a poor school situation that does not protect them. Similarly, children who feel anxious or terrorised are more likely to develop problems than children who learn how to avoid or diminish their fears and anxiety.
Children should be encouraged to report bullying, whether it happens in school or outside. They may be reluctant to do this for fear of being victimised themselves, or because they think it is wrong to 'tell'. It is important to discuss this belief and to talk about how adults can help.
It's also important to remember that, for every bullied child, there is a bully. Most bullies are unhappy and insecure, and they too need to learn better coping skills, in order to stop bullying and lead more successful lives.
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