Bullies Targeting Obese Children
Most of us have probably been made a target for humiliation and harassment at one time or another. Many of us have been bullied as children. Kids who are bullied by peers are selected for any number of reasons although it has been shown that obese children are especially likely to be bullied.
Even obese children who have characteristics that normally discourage bullying, such as good social skills, were found to be bullied more often than peers.
Bullying can be either verbal or physical. Self-esteem becomes small and the bullied child will shrink in the presence of hurtful people, as well as avoid certain places. Read: Body Image after Weight Loss.
The result from all this is pretty much what you might expect: Kids who are bullied are more distressed and more anxious. They have an overall worse quality of life than kids who are not bullied.
Who Does the Bullying?
The answer to this is sometimes surprising.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics reports the results of an online survey developed by researchers from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. The survey was completed by over 300 kids between the ages of fourteen and eighteen who are enrolled in national weight loss programs. The subjects provided information to help researchers better understand the bullying obese kids endure as well as the location, frequency, duration, and types of bullies involved.
One-third of the kids said that they were bullied by their own parents.
Sixty-four percent of the kids reported that they were bullied at school, with seventy-eight percent stating they had been bullied for at least one year. An additional thirty-six percent reported being bullied for five years.
Those who bullied obese children the most were school peers — including those children that the kids being bullied considered friends. It also was reported that adults bullied, as well. In such cases, a sport coach was identified as a bully forty-two percent of the time while teachers were identified twenty-seven percent of the time. One-third of the kids said that they were bullied by their own parents.
What Can Be Done About Bullying?
Children often adopt the habits of adults. Unfortunately, parents do not always model appropriately and children mimic negative behaviors.
It has been shown that parents who share ideas and talk with their children frequently have kids who are 40% less likely to bully other children, than are the children of parents who do not communicate with their kids regularly.
Children who reported that they were often angry with their parents or bothered in general by them were as much as three times more likely to be bullies.
Learn how to respond to this type of bullying by visiting the American Academy of Pediatrics site “HealthChildren.org.”
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