Is Bullying Becoming Worse For Children And Teens?
Over the years I have spoken to parents who are worried about their child suffering from bullying. The children are not sleeping at night, becoming very stressed, anxious and not wanting to attend school.
We all know bullying has been around for a long time. Many have experienced it first hand when they were at school or work, or have heard or know of people who have been bullied. I have recently written about it being present at junior sports. In the last few years there has also been a lot of hype around how social media is adding greatly to bullying. What is incredibly upsetting is that the suicide rate of young children has also risen in the past decade.
According to ABC News, the 2016 Suicide Report highlighted that suicide rates have doubled over the past ten years and are higher with young men than women.
Other statistics from the report show:
• Suicide rates for 15 to 24-year-olds at the highest rate in 10 years
• A third of all deaths of young men are due to suicide
• 41,000 young people aged 12-17 have made a suicide attempt
• Twice as many 15 to 19-year-old women died by suicide than in 2005
• Suicide rates have increased for children under the age of 14
• One-quarter of women aged 16-17 years old have self-harmed
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ, severely mentally ill youth are at high risk
Unfortunately, most of the above are due to some form of bullying, whether at school, sport, work or social situations.
Ed Sheeran, whom many of us admire, has become one of the most popular singer songwriters today, but life wasn’t always happy for the world’s most famous redhead. He was severely bullied at school, mainly for his looks with his red hair and oversized glasses. He also had a stutter that caused his mouth to freeze when he tried to speak, especially in class, so nothing came out. Can you imagine how life was for this unhappy boy?
Luckily for Ed, he found a love and passion for music, singing and playing his guitar. He would sit in his room for hours practising the guitar and also sang at the local church. As we saw with gorgeous Harrison Craig, (winner of the second series of The Voice) who stutters when he speaks, he found control while singing.
Ed met up with some of the people who bullied him. This is what he had to say to them:
"When I went home and went to the pub and saw the people who used to be d**** at school, it's kind of depressing. They not only haven't done anything, but they don't know that there is anything out there.
They are so stuck in their little world. So, I feel sad for them - they are kind of being bullied by life.''
Ed is the underdog, the guy who keeps life real and the guy who cares about everyone and loves to look after his fans. While in Australia last week, Ed delighted his fans with a secret performance in Melbourne’s Hosier Lane and ordered pizza for his Brisbane fans, amongst other things. He also understands the hardships many people are facing, especially when it comes to bullying.
At his Australian concerts, Ed used a billboard to spread this significant message:
“It isn’t big to make others feel small — Ed Sheeran”.
There are many people out there who, like Ed, are raising awareness with bullying.
What we all need to do is reach out, write an article, share something on social media. Be kind and please keep asking others “How Are You Going?” and listen.
As a therapist/coach, I know how important it is for people who are hurting just to talk, to let it out. They don’t want or need your opinion; they need your ear.
Listening is vital to effective communication. Listening to someone who is upset provides them with a platform and often they work out the problem themselves. Don’t interrupt – just listen. By butting in you can cloud the person’s mind with mixed signals. Let them speak and work it out themselves. They will thank you after, like you have done all the work, and you have by just listening.
If there is one communication skill you should aim to master, listening is it.
This is also great advice for parents. Sometimes we want to jump in and make things better for our kids, but often the best gift is just to listen and let them work it out themselves. You’ll be surprised how clever they can be at sorting out their own problems with you in the background giving love and support.
“When the world’s against me is when I really come alive.” – Ed Sheeran
If you need help or know someone who needs help, please call:
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Men’s Line Australia 1300 789 97
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist. Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.
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