Back to School Trauma | Bullying

Marieta Dippenaar | Psychologist

For many children, the start of a new school year is filled with a great deal of expectation and excitement. But for many – the return to school heralds a time of stress, humiliation and pain – as they fall victim to bullying, harassment and abuse.

Bullying at school usually involves a learner or a group of learners intentionally hurting another -through repeated harmful acts and an imbalance of power. This can involve repeated physical, verbal or psychological attacks or intimidation directed against the victim who cannot properly defend themselves, either because of their size or strength, or because they are outnumbered or less psychologically resilient.

Bullying has evolved from the generally known verbal, excessive and malicious teasing, insults and name calling; physical attacks; or social torment; to cyber bullying – when the child is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, by another child, using the internet or social media channel.

How do you know your child is a victim of bullying?

Some children who are bullied will experience poorer health, more frequently contemplate suicide, actually commit suicide, suffer from depression, social dysfunction, anxiety, and insomnia, so it is important to pay careful attention to any changes in behaviour or health, including but not limited to;

  • Social withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low self-esteem
  • Having suicidal thoughts or attempts to commit suicide
  • A sudden decrease in academic performance
  • Fear of going to school or taking part in organised activities with peers
  • Frequent complaints of headaches and stomach aches

Parents are encouraged to listen to their children. If someone tells you bullying is taking place, take action. It is urgent to seek counselling for your yourself and for child if they show signs of being bullied.

Ask open-ended questions about their relationships with their teachers and their peers and let them know that you are there to support them and you will do all you can to help them feel safe – reassure them that the bullying is not their fault. The team at Evexia will be able to assist you with advice for how you can address the physical and emotional aspects of bullying with your child.

You can contact the support teams at Evexia by emailing or calling 012 348 8200.

Do you need help or advice about bullying?

The teams at Evexia are ready to help you.

Simply complete the form and we’ll get in touch.