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Helping Your Child Survive Bullying


Helping Your Child Survive Bullying


Is your child reluctant to go to school or often complains of physical pains to avoid having to attend? Is he or she losing money or other possessions a lot without apparent reasons? Does your child come home with unexplained bruises or injuries? Be aware! These are just some of the signs that your child could be being bullied in school.

Bullying can take several forms, but the most common kind is school bullying by classmates and schoolmates. It isn’t something that you can dismiss because it can have a deep impact on your child’s current emotional health and beyond. There are interventions that can help your child survive bullying. Aside from reporting it to the rightful authorities, your child may also need the help of a counselor to assist him/her in strengthening their emotional health.


Understanding Bullying: What is it?

Bullying is an age-old issue that is generally associated with growing children and teens, and to a certain extent, among adults as well. According to Good Therapy, “Bullying is an attempt, usually a systematic and ongoing one, to undermine and harm someone based on some perceived weakness.” The action is deliberate. It can take varied forms, including verbal abuse, intentionally shunning or excluding the victim, purposely hurting them, and/or damaging their possessions.

With the advent of the Internet, bullying has taken another form – “cyberbullying.” This has come to impact many teens over the last decade or so. It can cause them extreme embarrassment, distress, fear, and an extensive list of other negative feelings. If they start to feel helpless and hopeless, they can be driven to extreme responses, such as substance abuse and self-harm, in an effort to escape or withstand the bullying.


When the Line is Crossed

Children and teens love to have fun and they can be rambunctious. They can be boisterous, tease one another, even occasionally hurt one another or have conflicts in the process of playing. Bullying isn’t the same as having routine conflicts or accidently causing pain in the occasional bout. Conflicts may arise due to differences and the associated playful banters can usually be worked out among them. Though, bullying is more serious because it is deliberate. When the actions or words become intentionally harmful, offensive, cruel or unkind, and constant, it has crossed the line of fun – bullying has to stop.

Bullying can damage the victim’s self-esteem and it can trigger a lot of negative emotions. It can prevent a child or teen from pursuing enriching relationships and interactions. It can also stand in the way of making the most of their potential. Its effects can be lifelong, interfering with the proper development of their social skills and their ability to interact with others. If unaddressed, many victims can become bullies themselves.


Why Step In: More Long-Term Effects

Children and teens react to bullying in varied ways to protect themselves or to survive its harshness in their psyches and emotions. It can be as complicated as the bullying itself. It is common for many to “run and hide.” According to Psychology today, it can lead to “perpetual isolation, shutting down in conflict, having a general mistrust of people, overall avoidance of conflict, people, places, things, and one’s own feelings.

These are not good signs. In fact, several studies reveal that there are victims who may fight back or become bullies to those whom they perceive as weaker than they are. Psychology Today cites some of the long-term effects of bullying: “chronic defensiveness, needing to be right, problems with authority, self-attack, and self-destructiveness (including substance abuse and addiction).

It is also possible that the victims withdraw socially and/or perpetually suffer from eating disorders, being submissive, losing sense of self, and poor decision-making. They can get used to these, so that they may become their traits or pattern of behavior for life. The unfortunate thing is they may not even know that these are consequences of childhood or adolescent bullying.


The Signs: What You Need to Watch Out For

Many youngsters will not tell you outright that they are being bullied. While struggling with poor self-esteem, they may think they are to blame for it. Bullying can make them feel afraid for what may come if you went to school and reported the other children. They may also feel too ashamed or guilty for feeling weak, and as a result most will keep everything bottled inside.

To help them, it is important to recognize the signs of bullying. What are some of the signs you need to watch out for?

  • Reluctance to go to school or to get on the computer.
  • Your child’s mood changes after looking at their cell phone or going on Facebook.
  • Your child may not want to get on the school bus; begs you for rides to school every day.
  • Is frequently sick, with headaches and sleeping problems—and often wants to stay home from school.
  • You might notice damaged or missing belongings, or that your child keeps losing money or other valuable items.
  • Unexplained injuries or bruises.
  • Your child doesn’t seem to be eating his lunch— comes home unusually hungry, or their lunch comes back home with them.
  • Your child might be moody, anxious, depressed, or withdrawn.

Know that these symptoms are non-specific. This means that these do not necessarily indicate actual bullying. However, if they do exhibit several of these, it may be constructive to pay attention and/or seek help right away.


How Therapy Can Help

Your child could be too young to recognize bullying right away or too helpless to do something about it. This underscores the importance of being an informed parent to support and help them in surviving their bullying crisis. As a concerned parent you probably want to act quickly to resolve your child’s pain. A huge step in the right direction that many parents miss, is to seek out professional help to address their child’s painful emotions. Therapy can help in easing negative feelings brought about by bullying, such as resentment, fears, shame, worry, and isolation.

Therapy can assist your child process and share their emotions, because these feelings can impact their overall emotional health. They can internalize the feelings too deeply, so that they suffer from long-term consequences – having a poor sense of self and difficulty trusting others or they may not able to maintain satisfying relationships. Therapy can also assist the victim in developing a healthy self-image to better understand themselves. It can help them bounce back using certain skills, such as boundary setting and assertive communication.

Therapy can also help the “bullies.” If your think your child is engaging in bullying behavior, or he/she is acting this way as a defensive response to bullying, they can acquire new skills to communicate positively with others. Often, victims who become bullies have unresolved individual wounds that could trigger their conduct. Therapy with a proficient professional can be a vital step towards improving their behavior.


Stepping In: When’s the Right Time

If you notice the signs of bullying with your child, don’t delay – step in now. Provide the necessary help they need to withstand this ordeal and come out ahead. You need not look far, Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC, is in the neighborhood. It contracts independent, licensed therapists who may be just the right fit to help your child.

We human beings are social creatures that basically need interaction with others for a fulfilling existence. This built-in need can motivate people, as well as children and teens, to seek out others for survival. Everyone may need to interact with others, yet nobody needs enemies and bullies. Bullying must be stopped, and it can stop now. Call Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC today to make an appointment!

Confidential / Private Sessions

Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, caring, and relaxed atmosphere in the Southern Pines/Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Raeford area. These independently contracted therapists/counselors assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, the independently contracted therapists with Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC are able and happy to assist you!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, NC, Montgomery County, NC, Richmond County, NC, Randolph County, NC, Chatham County, NC

Cities: Southern Pines NC, Pinehurst NC, Aberdeen NC, Taylortown NC, Pinebluff NC, West End NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Ashley Heights NC, Ashmont NC, Five Points NC, Wind Blow NC, Jackson Springs NC, Whispering Pines NC, Vass NC, Cameron NC, Carthage NC, Eastwood NC, Lakeview NC, Narrow Ridge NC, Robbins NC, Roseland NC, Tramway NC, Troy NC, Zion Grove NC, Biscoe NC

We are located at:

Carolina Counseling Services - Southern Pines, NC
780 NW Broad St. Suite 210
Southern Pines, NC 28387

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (910) 585-6745 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Choose your Therapist

  • Kristin Vernon, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Adolescents, Couples, Families, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Divorce, Adjustment Disorders, Mood Disorders, Coping Skills, Parenting, Family Conflict, Marital Conflict, Relationship Issues
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Gretchen Montesanto, MA, LPC, NCC

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Teens, Individuals, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Stress, LGBT, Adjustment Disorder, Motivation, Life Transitions, Mood Disorders, Military Spouses

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Jaime J. Fitzpatrick MS, LPCS, LCAS

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adults, Families and Couples, Anxiety, PTSD, Trauma and Abuse Recovery, Depression, Military Life Issues, Adjustment Disorder, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Therapy, Addictions, Emotional Disturbance, Coping Skills, Impulsivity, Grief and Loss, Self-Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare,  Tricare Prime/Select and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Kathryn Wiens, PsyD. HSP-P

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adult, Individuals, Couples and Families.
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare Prime/Select, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Tracy Goldberg, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Individuals, Adolescents, Adults, Couples, Children and Families. Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiance, Behavioral Issues, Peer Relationships, Family Conflict, Depression, Anxiety, Parenting Anxiety, ADHD, Self-Esteem Issues, Family Conflict/Divorce, Marriage Counseling, Adjustment Disorders, Relationship Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Behavioral Issues, Coping Skills, Mood Disorders, Parent Skill Building, Christian Counseling upon request
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, Cash, HRA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC