Helping kids cope better with impact of bullying

Helping children developing these characteristics can reduce depression, anxiety and behavioural problems when bullied by their peers, the researchers say.

Most children will experience some form of bullying as they grow. Puneet Singh and Kay Bussey from Macquarie University’s Department of Psychology have identified four factors that help children cope with victimisation, reports the Journal of Research on Adolescence.
“Unfortunately, many children will get victimised during school and this can continue into adulthood, so it all comes back to your personal ability to deal with it," said Singh.

Their research suggests that children who have more confidence in their ability to be proactive and seek support or resolve conflicts are less likely to experience anxiety.
Those with a greater ability not to blame themselves, to focus on their positive attributes and not take victimisation personally were found to be less anxious and depressed.
Finally, students who felt confident not to strike back or seek revenge exhibited fewer behavioural problems.

“They should take action, get support, and not seek revenge. Children who don’t strike back but forgive are less likely to have behavioural difficulties,” Singh said.
She stresses the importance of helping children to develop confidence in their own abilities to feel more in control of a situation.

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