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How Do Bullies Lower Kids' Self-Esteem?

by Tiffany Raiford

You might hope your child grows up to become a doctor or a teacher or any number of things. What you don’t hope your child grows up to become is a bully or the victim of a bully. Bullying is something that most kids will experience in their lives, whether it’s because they are a bully, they’re the victim of a bully or they witness bullying in some form. The effects of bullying are long-lasting and devastating, especially since bullying can significantly lower a child’s self-esteem.

Depression

According to the Forbes website, children who are bullied are more likely to suffer from disorders such as depression. Being depressed can highly affect a child’s self-esteem in that children do not see any hope. Without hope, children cannot see their positive attributes or the good in life. They don’t feel positive and they don’t view themselves as worthy or good enough.

Suicidal

When a child feels the desire or questions her ability to take her own life through suicide, it’s because her self-esteem has suffered significantly. Boys who are the victims of bullies are more likely to become suicidal than girls. According to Massachusetts Citizens for Children, a program for child advocacy, boys who are victimized by bullies experience such a drop in their self-esteem level that they are eight times more likely to contemplate suicide than kids who are not bullied and four times more likely than girls who experience some form of bullying.

Social Issues

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child who is bullied enough can lose any sort of self-esteem or confidence she ever had. The more a bully taunts a child, the more her self-esteem suffers and the more she begins to believe that what her bully says is true. For example, if her bully tells her she’s ugly and stupid on a regular basis, her self-esteem will start to suffer and she will begin to see these negative comments as truthful. This might cause her to experience social issues such as withdrawing from her friends and family, no longer attending fun events or even leaving the house because she no longer believes anyone wants to spend any time with her.

Shame and Fear

When kids are bullied and their self-esteem begins to suffer, they start to feel more shameful and afraid of life, according to the Massachusetts Citizens for Children website. Victims of bullying begin to believe that they don’t have the confidence to face any situation in which their bully might target them, causing them to fear going to school or feel ashamed when bullies taunt.

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