Bullying is a form of violence. Bullies feel a sense of power from repeated provocation and taunting that over time may even escalate into dangerous physical violence or sexual assault. Victims of bullying may feel real fear, to the point of not wanting to go to school. Bullying may take the form of verbal and physical aggressiveness, rumors, or cruel insults and messages sent by email or posted on Internet social networks and chat rooms. Any kind of constant bullying can affect your teen, and insecure teens may come to feel like social outcasts. Bullies feel like they are in the position of power when they choose the weak and insecure as their immediate targets. Social status and appearance have a big impact at this age, and the outcome can be severe for those who are categorized by bullies as different and not being "cool" or popular enough.
Intentional and repeated bullying has consequences for the victims. The physical effects of aggressive violence are the visible signs of bullying, but parents need to address other warning signs of physical, psychological or emotional distress. A constant state of stress and fear can affect your child's mental and physical health. The victim of bullying may not be able to concentrate, and school work may suffer. Problems in digestion, such as irritable bowel syndrome, are ways that severe and continuous bullying can affect teens. Alcohol and drug use may also be a stress-related result of bullying. Depression, anxiety and low self esteem that develop as a result of bullying can, in extreme cases, lead to suicidal thoughts.
Teens may not openly share their experiences with their parents, and the traumatizing often extreme effects of teenage bullying may remain under the radar for parents; so it is important to be aware of any significant changes in your teen's behavior and physical health.