Youth & Teens

GROWING PAINS

During adolescence, things get so hard that many teens give up. They have many internal and external resources, but they do not know how to use them. Their world quickly becomes a place of great confusion and stress. They face conflicting demands between their parents, teachers and friends. The messages they get through the media and from other sources, like internet forums and social sites, only confuse them more. If you ask teens, though they dedicate every bit of their energy to discovering their identity, they are not sure who they are.

GROWING PAINS CONTINUED...

The feeling of low self esteem, not fitting in, feeling left out or feeling lost can cause emotional or behavioral changes that may lead to problems at home. However, increased awareness of the most common signs and symptoms can help reduce the difficulties experienced by families who are affected by low self esteem.


Warning Signs

 

  • Secrecy: Children who have low self esteem often become secretive at home. This can be particularly difficult for parents to experience, as they may imagine a range of frightening causes for changes in their child. The home environment can become tense, with some parents displaying frustration and suspicion in an authoritarian manner that may make the child even less likely to talk about being bullied.
     
  • Irritability: The feeling of low self esteem can occur at school or in the workplace, the unnaturally stressful environment that results can make the victim more argumentative at home. In addition, being regularly criticized and disparaged by themselves or even bullies. may lead to the victim overreacting to innocent comments made by family members at home.
     
  • Withdrawal: As a result of low self esteem, some victims may isolate themselves, diminishing the quality of family relationships. Other family members may feel less supported or connected in response to this reduced level of interaction. Over time, this can lead to a decrease in overall closeness in the family.
     
  • Lying: Self doubt causes many children to sometimes feel ashamed, worrying that they are not normal or that it is indicative of critical personal flaws. Whether for this reason, or because they fear that reporting the their feelings will make things worse, a child may start to lie to their parents about why they want to skip school or engage in other social activities. Feigned illnesses and other excuses can leave parents deeply worried about their child's physical and mental well-being.
     
  • Self-doubt: Your child may be bullied. Sometimes, family members do not take a report of bullying seriously. It may be dismissed as a normal part of growing up, or a consequence of office politics. However, this failure to empathize with the victim's emotional anguish can make them doubt their own perception of reality. This problem is particularly common in children, who may believe their parents are all-powerful.
     
  • Lack of trust: If family members disbelieve reports of bullying, the victim may feel painfully alienated. The resulting lack of trust can create a serious rift in the family that may remain long after the bullying itself has been resolved. Although this type of issue can arise as a result of workplace bullying as well, it is more common in cases of school bullying.
     
  • Anxiety: When someone lives in fear of bullying, trusting themselves or not liking themselves, their pervasive feelings of tension can lead to social anxiety in settings they used to enjoy, including family outings.

 

How does bullying affect people?

Does bullying really have such a bad effect on people?


What if the bullying goes on a long time?


Long-term bullying can lead to depression and feelings that you are worthless. Some of these effects can last for a long time, even into adulthood. A person who is bullied may become an adult who finds it hard to trust others, has problems making or keeping friends and lacks in confidence or self-worth.

During times of depression, sadness, stress or emotional anxiety, some people may ‘self harm’ (e.g. self cutting, abusing alcohol) or they may feel suicidal. This is very serious. If this is happening for you, you need help as soon as possible.  

Coach Toni has a long history of working with youth and teens regarding bullying. If your child is suffering from bullying or you suspect bullying, please do not wait to reach out.  

‘Some kids who are bullied believe it’s their fault. They think there is something wrong with them and they are worth picking on.’ Evan, 14


‘ Believe in yourself. No-one deserves to be treated like that. Bullying is bad... it makes you feel bad ­– but YOU are not bad – it’s the bullying that’s bad – not you!’ Paul, 18


If you are being bullied you might:

  • Feel anxious, depressed, lonely or insecure and feel like crying a lot.  
  • Be unable to concentrate in class.  
  • Feel angry and wonder why this is happening to you.  
  • Regularly end up in physical fights or arguments while trying to defend yourself.  
  • Feel afraid to go to school and nervous if you’re on your own.  
  • Think the problem is relentless and wonder if it will ever stop.  
  • Feel lonely, isolated and avoid group situations.  
  • Spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do or where to go to avoid being harassed.  
  • Think your parents would be worried or upset if you told them.  
  • Notice that your health is suffering such as changes in your appetite, difficulty sleeping or tension headaches.  
  • Feel afraid to check text messages or emails or look at social networking sites like Facebook in case there’s another cruel message about you.  
  • Start to think that maybe the insults and taunts are true and wonder if it’s your own fault.  
  • Have mood swings with a range of feelings from loneliness to anger.  
  • Wish you could talk to someone but you are not sure what you want to say.  
  • No longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy and drop out of activity groups or clubs.  
  • Feel trapped, helpless, withdrawn and like no one understands.  
  • Notice that these feelings are causing you to be unhappy at home and you are feeling moody or short tempered with your parents/carers, brothers or sisters.

REACH OUT


If you are feeling any of these things remember you are not alone and it is not your fault. 


There is help available.


Bullying is a serious problem and all of the feelings that you have are to be expected. 


It’s time to talk about the problem and GET HELP.

Toni and some of her Youth/Teen family

If you, your child or your family is suffering, please do not wait...

Reach out today