Through Art, Bullied Children Can Find Respite
Art therapy is a relatively new field in which the interface between art and human psychological well-being is explored. One area seeing a lot of interest concerns bullying, children, and art, and a study published by Frontiers in Psychiatry found that art can help children to effectively reduce their vulnerability to bullying. Like many forms of creativity, art is a way of escape, and a window into emotions and candidness between individuals. Promoting art in schools and at home can help to improve self-esteem in children and give them the tools they need to both counter would-be bullies and report them properly.
Art as self-esteem
The link between art and self-esteem is well explored. An article by PsyPost shows how engaging in art is already used to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression by tackling an issue at the core of many people’s condition – low self-esteem. Even completing simple tasks via a pre-defined tutorial, such as drawing simple animals like owls or cats, creates something that children can look at and be proud of. The feeling of accomplishment is something that bolsters confidence and self-esteem, and helps to start providing those emotions and sureness of self that can help minimize damage caused by bullies, or prevent bullying in the first place. Furthermore, artwork doesn’t have to follow any predefined notion about it, and that can be a powerful way to express feelings.
Art has shown, over the years, that it doesn’t need to have form or function. Robert Ryman became famous when one of his white-on-white paintings fetched nearly $20 million at auction – and it showed just how all art is valid. Anything that a child wants to commit to paper is worthwhile and will have a benefit in helping them to process their emotions. Being able to dispense with those emotions, and reflect them in a constructive manner, helps immensely with long-term psychological well-being.
Spreading a message
In a more direct way, art can help students to unite against bullies and to present a unified message. It’s important to remember that many bullies are victims themselves, either at home or at school, and while bullying cannot go unpunished it doesn’t mean that bullies cannot be empathized with or helped, too. Unified anti-bullying messages first provides strength to those children who have been victims of bullying, but it also spreads awareness and helps children to have more introspection and, perhaps, come to the realization that their behavior might not be OK. If art can not only improve the all-round mental wellbeing of children, but prevent new cases of bullying arising entirely, it will be worthwhile in its venture – the beauty of art aside.
Alongside the other creative arts, drawing, painting and its related practices can do a world of good for children being victimized by bullying. An emotional outlet that imparts tremendous emotional wellbeing, it has the power to change the world. Consider it when looking for ways to aid children caught up in the cycle of bullies.