Bullied Children at Higher Risk of Sleep Disturbances

02/10/2014

Bullying is a form of abuse, and it is harmful for both the victim and the abuser. This is because both the bully and the bullied suffer from severe emotional problems, especially in later stages of their lives, but they begin to show signs of mental disturbances at a young age.

Psychologists’ Opinion on Bullying

Psychologists state that children who take part in bullying are more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems such as substance abuse, violence, and criminal behavior. However, children who are victims of bullying endure suffering emotionally and are at a higher risk of sleep disturbances. They often begin to show signs of the mental torture they have undergone through nightmares, sleep terrors, sleep walking, depression, and damaged self-image.

Bullying can also cause anxiety and severe depression in the victim, even when he or she has overcome the after-effects of the previously endured suffering. Extensive research has been conducted, and researchers have stated that bullying is a great cause of distress for children. It can have long-term negative effects on their mental and physical health and well-being.

Parents of the Bullied

It can be a frightening experience for parents to watch their kids suffer from sleep disturbances and not know the root cause of it all since many bullying victims tend to shut down and keep to themselves instead of reporting the problem. This withdrawal puts them at a higher risk of sleep disturbances since their pain and suffering are being reflected subconsciously. However, it happens because their self-confidence has been shattered and their trust is highly shaken, which leads them to think there is no one who can possibly help them recover from the suffering they faced.

How to Help Your Child Overcome Sleep Disturbances

Sleep terrors, nightmares, and sleepwalking are all forms of sleep disturbances, and however frightful they may seem, it is important for you to help your child overcome these disruptive patterns. You should stay right by your child’s side until he or she falls back asleep again. You can do so with dedication and by following these few tips:

Never yell or scold your child to wake him or her up. Never shake your child out of it, either, as this might cause your child to feel more disturbed. Instead, softly talk or cuddle your child until he or she becomes calm.

Know that it may be distressing for you to observe, but children do not remember the events that took place while they were unconscious, nor does this harm them in any way, so do not try to talk about it when they are alert and awake.

If your child is climbing on the furniture or doing anything that could cause harm, stop your child right away even if he or she tries to put up a fight. The safest way to do this is to pick the child up gently and return him or her to bed.

A lot of dedication and effort goes into the process of dealing with a child who is experiencing sleep disturbances, but that does not mean the child cannot be helped. Keep in mind, too, that bullying places children at higher risk of sleep disturbances.

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