A significant number of kids who suffer at the hands of school bullies never tell their parents, and may even be skilled at hiding this from their family.
For this article I consulted with Rona Novick, PhD, who developed the BRAVE bully prevention program.
A clinical psychologist, Novick has worked with schools nationally on the issue of bullying, and is director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Doctoral Program at Yeshiva University, NY.
Why Kids Often Do Not Tell Their Parents They’re Being Bullied
“Many children will never tell adults, parents or teachers when they are bullied,” begins Novick. “Being a victim is humiliating and makes victims feel powerless.
“To admit to the bullying is further humiliating; it means telling adults you have failed, you are being belittled, hurt, and you can’t make it stop.”
This is a very similar psychological dynamic to that of why many victims of rape or incest won’t dare tell anybody.
It’s also along the same dynamic as to why a woman who’s being sexually harassed on the job keeps this information to herself, and why a man who’s being sexually harassed by his female boss doesn’t want to report this to anybody. It’s why a man, who’s physically abused by his wife, won’t tell anyone.
Kids can have these very same fears of humiliation and being perceived as a “weakling” or “sissy,” even if they’re female.
Children want their parents to be proud of them, and they believe that the fairy tale image that their parents have of them will turn to dust if they reveal they’re being bullied.
The fear that young individuals have of reporting bullying to their parents will be intensified if the parents expect perfection from their kids.
“Even children with very caring parents, and concerned teachers, may be too embarrassed to come forward,” says Novick.
“Families and schools need to make it safe and assumed that bullying will be the subject of frequent discussions. By telling children, in advance, that all children get bullied, that it is a terrible, but common experience, may help children to be more comfortable in responding.” silent