Aimee Hernandez, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health South Florida, says in psychotherapy the doctor will try to explain to the children what they are doing and ask them to let the specialist understand how they are feeling. Sometimes they don't want to be the bully but they feel pressured just to avoid being the target. It is important that parents validate their children's feelings.
Bullying is defined as any unwanted aggressive behavior that occurs repeatedly perpetrated by a person or group of people; it could be physical, verbal and emotional. Shana Friedman, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health South Florida, highlights cyberbullying as a problem brought by new generations. The introduction of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among others) changes the course of how we all live, but now consciousness about bullying has been increasing. Psychotherapist Aimee Hernandez says children and teens who are isolated, deal with disabilities or look different can be targeted, but basically everyone can be a victim of bullies that don't see calling people's names is hurtful.
Sometimes kids and teens won't speak up if they are being bullied. These are some of the signs that parents should be aware of if they suspect their child is being hurt at school: crying, making excuses in order to avoid going to school, loss of control and security, changing eating and sleeping habits and unexplained injuries, among others. Aimee Hernández, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health South Florida, recommends parents to think first about what they want to say to their child, to avoid overreaction. She explains that the best way to approach the situation is going to their child and saying how they feel, what they think it is happening and then allow the kid to give them a response. Also, Psychotherapist Shana Friedman says it might be better not to make a direct approach towards their kids, instead they can try talking about an example of bullying on TV.
Bullying can trigger serious problems as depression and potential suicide. Shana Friedman, Psychotherapist at Baptist Health South Florida, says children don't show depression the same way as adults do, but that is not true. Children with depression might show anxiety and irritability that can be confused with the typical feelings of teenage adjustment. Psychotherapist Aimee Hernandez highlights the loss of interest in activities as an important symptom of bullying, because the child does not want to be exposed to the bully any longer.