In many cases bullied kids stay silent and struggle with communication which can lead to bigger problems later in life. Many people join my public speaking courses for specific reasons, for example, they want to improve their presentation skills for work or they’re giving a speech at a wedding for the first time. Improving your communication also has other benefits apart from standing up in front of a crowd, including dealing with some difficult issues.
One of these is bullying. All too common in school, on the playground and even at work nowadays, it can be a challenging problem to solve.
Whether you’re being bullied at school, or you’re a teacher, parent or friend trying to help someone who is being bullied, good communication is paramount. However, it’s important to remember that public speaking isn’t always delivering a speech to a group of people. It can just as easily be a 1-2-1 conversation with someone who is being bullied.
Those who are affected by bullying can find it difficult to express their feelings and tell someone what is going on, often bullied kids struggle with communication. According to some research in the USA, more than 60% of students who were being bullied never told anyone about it at the time.
There are several reasons why a child or a teenager will keep quiet rather than call out their bully, of course. It can be down to peer pressure, fear that things will get worse if they complain, there may even be shame or embarrassment.
How Prevalent is Bullying?
According to a recent report by BBC News, around 20% of young people in the UK experienced bullying over 12 months. The most common type of bullying was verbal with cyberbullying the least prevalent.
What is more worrying from the survey was that 33% of those who had been bullied had also entertained suicidal thoughts.
The Effect of Bullying on Mental Health
While being the victim of bullying can have immediate effects on mental health, it can also create longer-term issues. Those who have been bullied are more likely to develop conditions such as anxiety and depression in later life – especially if there is no resolution to their bullying.
Suffering from persistent bullying can certainly affect the individual’s self-esteem, make them feel isolated and helpless. Throughout childhood and the teenage years, the brain is still developing and processing information and finding solutions can be difficult for some kids.
It may seem odd to a parent or teacher when they discover that a child has kept their bullying secret but that’s often because they don’t see things from the child’s point of view. What may seem sensible to an adult can appear unthinkable to a child.
Bullying and Good Communication
Good communication is not just about speaking. There’s a lot of body language involved as well. Learning to spot the signs that someone is being bullied is important and can ensure that the important conversations are started sooner rather than later.
For children and teenagers, learning good communication can help with expressing their feelings and emotions more easily and it can also help return the confidence that the bullying may have temporarily taken away. It gives them useful tools to say when things are not right and initiate a conversation with someone who can help.
For teachers, friends and parents, boosting those speaking skills can have a big impact on not only spotting when someone is struggling but approaching them and getting them to open up. It can also help when giving a talk to a group of children who may have been involved in bullying or have been bullied themselves.
As an award-winning coach in public speaking, I understand how important a life skill good communication can be. For children and parents, our online confidence courses provide a simple and effective way to flourish and grow with complete confidence.
Find out more here.