Five Strategies to Prevent your Sensitive Son from Being Bullied
By Ted Zeff, Ph.D.
Did you know that twenty percent of the population has a sensitive nervous system and the trait is equally divided between males and females? Therefore, 20% of all males are sensitive, or one out of every five boys has a finely tuned nervous system. A highly sensitive boy (HSB) can be easily overwhelmed by noise, crowds, fearful of new situations and shy away from aggressive interactions. He generally reacts more deeply and exhibits more emotional sensitivity than the non-sensitive boy which unfortunately could result in being bullied.
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, 160,000 children miss school every day in the United States for fear of being bullied; more than 50 suicides have been linked to prolonged bullying; and approximately 85% of school shootings have revenge against bullies as a major motive. School-related bullying has led to depression and poor school performance in many children.
Although research has shown that infant boys are more emotionally reactive than infant girls, by the time boys reach the age of five, they have usually learned to repress every emotion except anger. Societal values emphasize that males should be aggressive, thick-skinned, and emotionally self-controlled, which is the opposite of a sensitive boy. When boys don't conform to the “boy code” and instead show their gentleness and emotions, they are usually ostracized and humiliated.
Bullies tend to target kids who seem different from others. Since the eighty percent of non-HSBs are hardwired neurologically to behave in a different manner than the twenty percent of HSBs, many sensitive boys do not fit in with the vast majority of boys and risk being bullied. Bullies also target kids who don't fight back and who react deeply to teasing. Research shows that 85% of HSBs avoided fighting and most sensitive boys react more strongly to bullying than other boys.
?How can we prevent our sensitive boys from being bullied