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Me_Dee
Me_Dee asks:
Q:

Solutions to middle school bullying anxiety?

I'm new here and was wondering if anyone else's child is in Middle School and has experienced the verbal, mind games and alienation of bullying.  My daughter has been through it in 6th and 7th grade. We have worked with the school to make things better this year but my daughter was so traumatized from the previous year that she didn't even make it through the first day.  No one even bothered her.  She was just so terrified of it happening that she wound up having a melt down and I had to pick her up before the end of the day.  I am praying she will make it through the day today.  If there is anyone else is in the same boat I'd really like to hear about your own experiences and any solutions you may have come up with.  Thanks so much.  Dee
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

|

Expert

Jami
May 7, 2009

What the Expert Says:

This is often a common problem in middle school. I'm sorry to hear your daughter is going through this. It sounds like she has been a target of social aggression. Social aggression is common among girls (and boys) as these forms of bullying (exclusion, rumor spreading) are less likely to be detected by adults and often the perpetrators do not receive negative consequences.

Involving the school is a great strategy as adults are often unaware when social aggression is taking place because it is not as obvious as physical acts. If your daughter is still experiencing difficulty making it through the day or making excuses for why she does not want or can’t go to school (stomach ache, headache, etc), or making frequent trips to see the school nurse it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional to seek additional support for your daughter. Bullying often has lasting effects on the victims and as you have found with your daughter, anxiety is one of them. A mental health professional can aid your daughter in reducing her anxiety.

If you find that your daughter is often isolated, it is a good idea to promote positive relationships with her peers. Schools often have programs that help promote positive friendships, like gathering a group to eat lunch together or spend time after school. Talk with your daughter’s school about this if it seems like a good option for her. School counselors or school psychologists often create groups specifically for this reason. If she is not already engaging with peers after school and on the weekends, encourage her to make friends or connect with her peers through after school activities or other non-school related activities (such as music, sports, church, etc.). Connecting with peers in a positive way will increase her self-confidence and increase the positive interactions she has with her peers. Help your daughter focus on the positive things in her life and continue to talk with her about what is happening at school, so that you can problem-solve together.


Jami Givens, MA, PLMHP
School Psychology Doctoral Candidate
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Target Bullying Research Lab: www.targetbully.com

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Additional Answers (9)

kellysfinn
kellysfinn , Parent writes:
Hi Me,<br />
<br />
Middle school can be rough, however it sounds like you are doing all the right things to help your daughter. Working with your daughter's school and listening and being sensitive to her feelings are very important steps.<br />
<br />
Education.com is an excellent source on bullying, with information on everything from the causes of bullying to solutions and recent research. &nbsp;The link to this information is:<br />
http://www.education.com/reference/topic/TeenYears_MiddleYears_Bullying/<br />
<br />
A particular article that might be helpful is:<br />
<br />
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Bullying_Your_Child_2/<br />
<br />
This article lists tips on things she can do if bulling begins. &nbsp;It might be helpful to go through some of these tips together so she feels confident that she has concrete steps she can take in different circumstances. &nbsp;For example, talking with her about how to use the buddy system may reduce some of her fears.<br />
<br />
This is a hard situation, but in the first few days of school it can be difficult to judge what to expect, so just try to take it day by day. The most important thing is to continue an open dialogue with your daughter about her feelings and what is happening at school.<br />
<br />
Good luck!<br />
Kelly<br />
<br />
> 60 days ago

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michaelbartone
michaelbart... writes:
Hi Dee,<br />
<br />
As a former teacher, I see this all the times in school. One year I had a student who started having panic/anxiety attacks in school because a boy was being verbally and physically abusive. It is so refreshing to see that your daughter has an advocate in you. Again, as a former teacher I know that teachers are fed-up with bullying. It is so hard to see in girls, because many aren't &quot;bullies&quot; in the tradional sense. There is a whole new world of bullies. Many girls are manipulative and are sneaky about their bullying.<br />
<br />
I hope you have found some our articles helpful. You can find some great references in the following site:<br />
http://www.education.com/reference/middleyears/<br />
<br />
All of the categories under Sub-Topics look relevant to your plight. I wish you the best. If you have any other concerns or questions please continue to post them!<br />
<br />
Peace, Michael<br />
> 60 days ago

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Kalicares
Kalicares writes:
I truly understand what your daughter has gone through.  Even at the age of 30 the memories still haunt me of the bullying and taunting I went through during my young school years.  Junior high in particular was nightmare.  As a young mixed race girl I could never get use to the horrible comments and mind games.  I was picked on about everything and I still remember the insults such as "wool head."  My self-esteem plummeted.  If it wasn't for the encourgement and guidance of my strong African -American mother I would have never made it through.  She supported and guided my every step and NEVER ever refused to believe my stories.  She was always evolved.  You will be a wonderful mother by just being there for her.  AND ALWAYS believing in her.  I didn't realize it until I got older that I was really a beautiful girl and the other girls were just jealous.  I even modeled while in college.  Your daughter will recognize her worth soon and understand the importance of your support in her life.  
> 60 days ago

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JoeBruzzese
JoeBruzzese , Teacher, Parent writes:
Now 60 days later, has your daughter become more relaxed at school? Unfortunately, I just discovered the education.com web site. Below I have included links to a few of the articles I have written on the topic of bullying. Please let me know if you have additional questions or if I can help in any way.

Joe Bruzzese

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Mother_Concerned
Mother_Conc... writes:
I also have a daughter in 6th grade and has has experienced the verbal, mind games and alienation of bullying. I have been working with the school on this for the last three months and now she is being threaten by a 8th grader, (sister of the girl that has been the main problem). I have emailed the school about this . I just pray something will be done. I welcome any advice

I hope that things are getting better for your daughter.
> 60 days ago

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JoeBruzzese
JoeBruzzese , Teacher, Parent writes:
you may be interested in a News series I came across recently, out of Reno, NV. The anchor has taken a special interest in bullying and created a wealth of resources on the topic. Here's the link: http://www.mynews4.com/story.php?id=17752

Best,
Joe Bruzzese

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Boys Town National Hotline
Hi Dee,

It looks like this question was answered over 2 months ago, and we hope things have improved for your daughter. Keep working closely with the school and keep the communication open with your daughter. Make sure she is involved in at least one activity such as music, sports or something creative where she can meet other kids who have similar interests. The worst thing wold be to allow her to isolate herself and give up. She should not see herself as a victim. She needs to know that she deserves to be treated with respect and that she can stand up for herself.

We would like you to give your daughter our website for teenagers: www.yourlifeyourvoice.org  It is a very positive and safe place for teens who are experiencing bullying and other issues. Our toll-free Hotline number is on the website if they want to talk directly with a counselor. As a parent, we encourage you to go to our parenting website: www.parenging.org  You can also call or e-mail our Hotline. Our counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week for parents who are needing support with any problem.

Take care and let us know how your daughter is doing. We are here to help!

Sincerely,

Cynthia, Crisis Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org

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JoeBruzzese
JoeBruzzese , Teacher, Parent writes:
Hello Dee,
Your daughter's anxiety is a natural response to the trauma she has experienced. Moving forward without fear will take time and confidence. Connect with her teachers by email just to check in. A once-a-week message will give you the information you need to know. Ask your daughter to tell you about everything that went right at school. Keeping the focus on the positive doesn't negate the anxiety, but it brings the spotlight to the best parts of her day. Reassure her that you are a phone call away and that she also has teachers on campus that she can go to when she feels unsafe or simply needs someone to talk to. Building trusting relationships with the adults on her school campus will help to build her confidence that she can stay in school. Continue to provide her with extracurricular activities that provide a positive peer group who will bolster her confidence and feeling of self-worth. The teen years are challenging, but that doesn't mean your daughter should live every day in fear.

Let me know how I can help.

Best,
Joe Bruzzese
805 889 2142
www.sprigeo.com
> 60 days ago

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AmyMcARdell
AmyMcARdell writes:
When I dealt with this situation with a student I was able to enlist the help of another teacher.  The teacher was able to give the student small chores or tasks to do during the student's lunch hour.  Since, the bullying was happening during lunch I thought it would be better to have the student busy in another location so that she was not the focus of the bullying group.  In the mean time we worked on getting her into groups that were more healthy and supportive.  Once the student removed herself from the unhealthy group and started to hang out with students that were more goal orientated her situation started to get better.
> 60 days ago

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