Dealing with Bullying in Teen Years

Mayo Clinic LogoMost of the bullying I dealt with took place during my pre-teen elementary school and tween years. But many kids who suffer with bullying have it take place well into their teen and High School years. This can have a dramatic effect due to all the emotional stress that children go through during their teen years when their bodies and minds are changing more quickly.

An article from The Mayo Clinic, I found in my research on the subject of bullying sheds more light on the differences between pre-teen and teen bullying. The researchers distinguish teen bullying’s common core features as:

  1. The aggression is intentional.
  2. The aggression is repeated.
  3. The aggression thrives on an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the target.

As a result kids who experience this bullying are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In addition, the research shows that teens who are cyber-bullied in particular are more likely to use alcohol and/or drugs, receive school detentions or suspensions, skip school, or be deal with face-to-face bullying. Another factor in the study is that teen bullying is associated with a higher rate of weapon carrying and fighting that leads to injury. While these are not surprising, it does show the damage and potential damage that bullying does.

The research shows some strong differences as well between pre-teen and teen bullying. Unique traits of teen bullying are:

  1. Teens are more reluctant to report bullying to parents or schools
  2. Teens are more reluctant to report cyber-bullying due to policy rules or fear of losing their phone or internet priviledges

Research continues to show, though, that parents can and do influence a child, even during the rebellious teen years. Parents can help prevent teens from being both bullies and victims of bullying. The Mayo Clinic article suggests that parents:

  • Get involved by providing activities and a good home life
  • Monitor internet, phone, and TV use
  • Help teens learn to cope with their feelings by setting and example with your own behavior
  • Meet your teens friends and know who they are hanging out with

Part of the solution is that parents can’t fear talking with their teens about bullying. Communication and open discussions are key. The article suggests the following tactics that teens can  take:

  • Avoid isolation. If you’re in a situation where you think bullying might happen, don’t go it alone. Stick with trusted classmates during the school day. If you’re walking home from school, find someone to go with you.
  • Communicate self-confidence. Walk tall, make eye contact and speak assertively to the bully. Just saying “stop” or walking away from the bully — or deleting offending emails or text messages — may be enough.
  • Nurture positive friendships. Spend time with trusted friends, or reach out to friendly peers. Make new friends through after-school activities, such as music, theater and athletics.
  • Avoid violence. Getting involved in a fight may only lead to more aggression.
  • Report dangerous situations. If you’re being stalked or you’ve been physically attacked by a bully, don’t be afraid to tell a trusted adult.

Finally, if your teen tells you they are being bullied, you can take the following actions after reassuring your child that you will do everything in your power to help. The Mayo Clinic article then goes on to say you can:

  • Record the details. Write down the details — the date, who was involved and what specifically happened. Record the facts as objectively as possible.
  • Meet with school authorities. Start with a teacher who knows your child well. Ask whether your child’s classroom behavior has changed or if there are any other warning signs. You might also consult a school dean, counselor or other school contact.
  • Explain your concerns in a matter-of-fact way. Instead of finding blame, ask for help to solve the bullying problem. Keep notes on these meetings. Remember that it can take time for teachers and administrators to investigate bullying in a fair and factual way.
  • Ask for a copy of the school’s policy on bullying. Find out how bullying is addressed in the school’s curriculum, as well as how staff members are obligated to respond to known or suspected bullying.

I have reprinted much of the article’s content here for you so that you can read and use it. Please also reference the original article at The Mayo Clinic website to see additional information.

7 thoughts on “Dealing with Bullying in Teen Years

  1. Schools don’t do jack about bullying. I’m a 30 year old woman and had to put up with bullying from the time I was in 4th grade all the way through the rest of school. I was threatened with physical/sexual violence, pushed around, slapped, called names and even had school projects sabotaged. My parents would be at school all the time trying to get the bullying stopped, and this was in the 90’s. The school counselors were a joke. Nothing was ever done, but I was always told to tell an adult when it happened. I would come home with lists of things sometimes two or three sheets long.

    My dad’s reaction after it went on for years and years?

    “Well, YOU must have done something to make them come after you.”

    That made me stop reporting the issue because somehow it was my fault and complaining never did any good anyway. I went through school hating every ounce of myself and feeling like I had no self worth. I thought about and still think about suicide from time to time because I’m unable to work, I have no self esteem and the sensory issues I have make holding a job impossible(I’m on SSI). I have problems with anxiety that I don’t talk about because to this day I still believe my feelings aren’t important enough to mention.

    Right now I’m being cyber bullied by people from a cruel website I won’t name because that will just give them more ammunition to harass me. They will probably find this and use it against me. And once again nothing I have done has stopped these people from harassing me. They had my best pieces of fanworks removed from sites and I’m at a point where I don’t know who I can even trust anymore. I have a circle of online friends I know are “safe” but anybody new I keep at arm’s length; I never know who might be one of those trolls posing as a “friend” to get more information to use against me.

    I feel as if the world is always judging everything I do, hoping I fail. I have never loved myself as a person and always feel like I’m not worth anything. I’m crying as I type this.

    I. Have. No. Worth.

    Everything I say gets twisted against me. Is my only purpose in the world to be a punching bag for every jerk who likes to bully?


  2. I was bullied too when I was younger from 5th grade to 11th and am now just realizing all the after effects. I went through depression for 6 years afterwards and thought of suicide many times myself. I know this is incredibly hard but start with God. I might sound silly, but honestly that’s how I got through so much pain and continue to get through the pain. You ARE WORTH IT! You are worth every living breath that you will ever breathe. You DO NOT deserve to be bullied, and you DO NOT deserve to be treated the way you are treated. You are wonderful, and you have a purpose here on earth. Know that there are people like me who although I may not know you, I feel a love for you because I’ve been there. You have so many support groups here on earth and God really does Love you. Though there might be days where it’s incredibly hard to go on, know this, you are here for a purpose. You have something important to do here on earth that no one else can, no one else is like you, and that’s awesome! I’m happy you’re here and I hope you have the courage to keep going. Keep talking and freeing others who are being bullied. Teach them how to stop the bullies. Take this trial and turn it into strengthening others. Today, you strengthened me just by sharing your story. It made me feel that I wasn’t alone and I needed that. Thank you.

  3. I sometimes get bullied…OK I admit, I get bullied ALOT. But I always end up with my friends standing up to me. When I was 8 years old I got pushed off a tree by this kid named Jerry, luckily my friend caught me before i hit the ground(thank gosh she did that).
    But sometimes the bullies don’t start out as bullies, sometimes they have siblings, friends, or even a family member that influenced them. I admit, one time when a bully was bullying me TOO MUCH, I started to be mean to them…but then I stopped after one day.

    I just one peice of advice to you, I don’t mean to swear or anything BUT HELL WITH IT!! Just ignore them! If they go too far (like cyber bullying or something like that) then call the police. Especiually( sorry, I might have spelled that word wrong, I’m not so good at spelling the word ”especually”) if you started thinking about commiting suiside.

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