Bullying, sadness and worry: Knowing
what to watch out for and when to be
Becky Hashim, Ph.D.
Attending Psychologist
Behavioral Consultation Team
Assistant Professor
Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
[email protected]
Goals of Presentation
• Review of Turner Syndrome, social
competence, and self-esteem
• Definition of bullying
• Differentiating between normal child
conflict and bullying
• Warning signs for depression and anxiety
• How you can help your child (and
Turner Syndrome (TS):
Psychological research data
•Research on psychosocial development has documented adjustment
problems in the following areas:
– Immaturity
– Poor concentration
– Increased activity level
– Peer relationship problems
– Negative self-concept
– Negative body image
– Delays in cognitive maturation (nonverbal processing)
– Family struggle in accepting the diagnosis
– Low self-esteem
– Limited access to resources and support
•Immaturity and anxiety are most common in adolescence
TS, self-esteem, and selfconcept
•Girls with Turner Syndrome have high motivation for
social relationships, but perform more poorly than their
peers on several measures of social competence and
social cognition (Hong et al., 2011)
– Impairments in sensing reciprocal social behaviors,
using expressive social communication, interpreting
social cues
– Link between impaired social performance and
decreases in self-esteem and self-concept
•Social contexts become much more subtle and
demanding with age (adolescence)
Simply stated, bullying…
• Is intimidating or subjecting a person to
hostility or ill treatment
• Involves actions which cause another
person to feel afraid, humiliated,
embarrassed, threatened or shamed
• Occurs in a relationship in which there is
an imbalance of power
• Is repeated over time
Bullying Happens in Four Ways
• Verbal
– Teasing, jokes, ignoring/isolation, gossip, threats
• Physical
– Blocking someone’s path, physical restraint,
pushing/kicking, hazing
• Sexual
– Teasing, touching, slapping, pictures, emails, graffiti,
sexual assault
• Property
– Hiding belongings, theft, arson, extortion, vandalism,
Bullying is NOT…
• A normal childhood activity
• A rite of passage
• The target’s fault
Differentiating Bullying from Normal
Peer Conflict/Mean Behavior
Normal conflict/mean behavior
•Equal power or are friends
•Happens occasionally
•Not serious
•Equal emotional reaction
•Not seeking power
•Remorse-will take responsibility
•Effort to solve the problem
•Imbalance of power
•Repeated negative actions
•Physical or emotional harm
•Unequal emotional reaction
•Seeking control/material things
•No remorse-blames target
•No effort to solve the problem
For the target, bullying
is a “loss” experience
LOSS of safety
LOSS of self-esteem
LOSS of belonging
LOSS of control over their own life
Effects of Bullying on the Target
Physical Effects
•Stomach aches
•Weight loss/gain
•Drop in grades
•Drug or alcohol use
•Sexual activity
•Physical aggression
Emotional Effects
Low self-esteem
Warning signs that your child
may be the target of bullies
• Frequently teased, taunted belittled, ridiculed,
intimidated threatened, dominated or subdued
• Has a derogatory nickname
• Regularly has bruises or injuries that can’t be
• Has belongings taken or damaged
• Few or no close friends at school
Warning Signs
• Frequently socially isolated
• Less assertive or lacks the skills to respond to
others’ teasing or harassment
• Appears weak or easily dominated
• Tries to stay close to a teacher or other adult at
recess or breaks
• Talk with your child about bullying!
What to do if you suspect your child
is being bullied
• Talk with your child
– If your child is being bullied, they need to have a voice in
how the situation is handled
• Contact the school
– Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher(s) or counselor
– Consider including the school resource officer if applicable
– Develop a plan for keeping your child safe, particularly
during vulnerable times (class breaks, lunch, recess).
– Find out what activities or counseling options are available
for your child
• Contact police or school resource officer…
– If the actions are criminal (assault, theft, serious threats,
Recommendations if you
suspect your child is being
• Don’t encourage your child to fight back—two
wrongs don’t make a right!
• Listen to your child; do not ignore your child’s plea
for help.
• Don’t confront the parents or the other child directly.
• Avoid bringing your child and the bully together to
elicit an apology or resolve the issue.
“Sad” vs “Depressed”
• How do we know when we’re depressed?
difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
fatigue and decreased energy
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
feelings hopeless
Trouble sleeping OR sleeping too much
irritability, restlessness
loss of interest in activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed
overeating or appetite loss
persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Not just every now and then – really gets in the way of your
“Worry” vs “Anxiety”
• How do we know when we’re anxious?
Feelings of nervousness or dread
Trouble concentrating
Feeling tense and jumpy
Anticipating the worst
Watching for signs of danger
Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
Physical symptoms (pounding heart, sweating, stomach or
headaches, etc.)
– Not just every now and then – really gets in the way of
your functioning
Caregiver support!
• It’s normal to have concerns about your child’s health,
social interactions, friendships, education and general
• Stay connected (#1): Establish and maintain quality
relationships with friends and family
– support groups composed of other people
experiencing similar challenges
• will not only aid your own well-being, but also
provide rewarding opportunities for you to help
What can you do to help your
• Pay attention to your child’s social functioning
– If you sense any problems, act quickly!
• Carefully develop and nurture social skills and
– Group therapy: Peer groups for girls with TS can help reinforce your
daughter's self-esteem and provide her with a social network of people
who understand her experience
– Create a “buddy system” with other parents who have TS children
• Increase self-esteem
– Encourage activities that your child feels she is good at and/or enjoys

Bullying - Turner Syndrome Foundation