Bullying can bring fear and hopelessness into the life of an innocent child. Sadly, many caregivers and bystanders don't act when they see a child getting bullied on the playground or in their neighborhood. Such inaction can mean misery for children who are subjected to bullying on a regular basis. Years after the bullying has come to an end, people who were bullied as teenagers can result in having poorer self-esteem and higher levels of depression and suicide, than other adults.
If it seems like bullying is getting worst...it is. It seems to be happening at earlier ages and with more frequency and now add cyber bullying. While there is no place safe from bullying, there are areas where bullying is worse. Bullying can range from teasing, name calling, to stealing lunch money, to a group of students physically abusing a classmate, to a text message. Recent bullying statistics admit that more than half of all bullying incidents go unreported. Cyber bullying statistics indicate even less of these are reported.
Being a target is very stressful for children. Many children develop a strong dislike of going to school, especially times like recess or gym class. Many targets begin to distrust all their peers at school and have problems making friends. Extreme cases of bullying, youngsters can develop depression or physical illness.
The effects of bullying last beyond the teen years. Teens - especially boys - who bully are more likely to engage in such things as vandalism, shoplifting, absenteeism, and drug use into adulthood. They are four times more likely than teens who don't bully to be convicted of crimes by age 24, with 60% of bullies having at least one criminal conviction. Bullying can affect a teenager's self esteem and sexual relationships and can make a person depressed or suicidal.
Teen bullying can lead teenagers to feel tense, anxious, and afraid. It can affect their concentration in school, and can lead them to avoid school in some cases. If teen bullying continues for some time, it can begin to affect teens' self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It also can increase their social isolation, leading them to become withdrawn and depressed, anxious and insecure. In extreme cases, bullying can be devastating for teens, with long-term consequences. Some teens feel compelled to take drastic measures, such as carrying weapons for protection or seeking violent revenge. Others, in desperation, even consider suicide. Researchers have found that years later, long after the bullying has stopped, adults who were bullied as teens have higher levels of depression and poorer self-esteem than other adults.
Guardians of children must take an active role in the child's life, constantly monitoring their behavior and asking the hard questions.
•Is there a change in your child's grades? •Is your child losing friends or have they changed the crowd they hang out with? •Is your child staying by themselves, seem withdrawn or depressed? •Is your child becoming more emotional, cry easily? •Does your child have a low self esteem, lack of confidence? •Does your child seem uncomfortable, reluctant or have fear when getting ready for school? •Does your child have personal items or money missing?
What Should Guardians Do?
Guardians are a safe place for youngsters turn to, always be a support system for your children.
•Open a dialog, simply ask your child if he or she is being bullied at school. •Create a tighter bond with your child, so they feel safe to express all emotions. •Be aware of your own behavior and aggression. •Provide good examples of conflict resolution, without threats, yelling or name calling. •Encourage independence in your child. •Take action quickly, do not dismiss your child if they express uncomfortable feelings. •Make it clear that you will not tolerate bullying behavior. •Form a positive relationship with your child's school, as they too want a safe school climate. •Never insult, criticize or poke fun of your child, even as a joke. •Always make it clear that it is not their fault, why they are being targeted.
Guardians should also be on alert for signs showing that your child is a bully. Bullying behavior can be a precursor to problems later in life, especially criminal activity. It can also affect future professional and personal relationships. It is important that children learn to express themselves in healthy, socially acceptable ways, bullying is not something that society should or will tolerate. Children who bully may:
•View violence positively as a solution to most problems. •Have a lack of respect or show aggression toward children as well as adults. •Need to dominate and control others, always be 'right' in a situation. •Become easily frustrated. •Laughs or shows little sympathy, especially towards others who are being bullied.
It can be a good idea to talk to your child’s school authorities, as well as a child counselor or pediatrician to figure out a plan. Bullies need to learn why they behave the way they do and what they can change so that they are showing more acceptable behaviors.
Guardians and other adults can play an important roll in the reduction of bullying. It is important to notice what is going on with children and watch for signs if a child is participating in, observing or a target of bullying behavior. In any case, it is crucial that adults display harmonious resolutions, positive respectful behavior at all times, especially in the presence of children.
Whether your child is being bullied or creating a negative environment for others...it is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, we all have experienced negativity in one form or another, that is why there are so many resources out there, so adults need to talk about negative situations and work together to create a positive society.
When a child hurts themselves, everyone is affected, family members, friends, teammates, neighbors and sometimes even those who didn't know the child well might experience feelings of grief, confusion, guilt — often leaving those with the question that if only they had done something differently, could it have been prevented. We all must be aware of our actions and do the best we can to be supportive, approachable and a positive influence on those around us.
Allowing guilt, blame and self-punishment to torment ourselves after a tragedy will only add more tragedy to a situation and a child would never want their loved ones to continue suffering, hurting or hurting other loved ones. In the event of any tragic loss, always seek others in similar situations, celebrate the life of the child and embrace all those who loved the child as they too are suffering.
Hey, I am a Kid and I Just Want Answers...How Do I Deal with it...
Tell, tell, tell...was it mentioned...tell!! By talking about it you will realize how common bullying is and that there is clearly nothing wrong with you. Those that are bullies have an insecurity problem and find it difficult to express, so if they use bullying behavior it will deflect their internal pain...which it will not, but some have to find their own path. Being unique, different and independent are brave and admirable qualities that we should all possess. Even if you feel that you are just an ordinary individual...allow yourself time to grow into the person you would like to be. Be true to you, embrace who you are, love who you are, as you have qualities that are important to those around you. If you feel that you are alone and that you do not have anyone, give someone a chance. Yes, a lot of people will let you down in this life but you must allow someone in and if they disappoint you, try again with another, just allow yourself time to grow into that relationship that you are seeking...it is out there.
It is easily said "Do not allow anyone to make you feel bad, because in reality they are the ones who feel bad and just want others around them to feel as they do!" It is healthy sound advice, and you must take it to heart, seek positive healthy outlets to distract yourself from negativity, find what you enjoy, skateboarding, writing, music, cooking, animal care, jump rope, shoot hoops... you just might develop a craft and you will certainly feel so much better...try it!
Feel free to be assertive, when some hurts your feelings or threatens you...speak up LOUDLY, you tell them exactly what is on your mind. They do not care if they are hurting your feelings, so hey, share your thoughts with them as well! When you simply feel you just can not take another day of put downs, insults, jokes, rumors, lies and all the B.S that others keep doing...Absolutely speak up for yourself. Some will say and do things just to get a rise out of you, seriously not letting it bother you, is the best route to take because if they don't get a reaction all the fun is taken out of it, for them. Spreading lies to get back them, in your heart you know that is not right or a healthy solution, you will sink to their level and really, do you want to be on the same level as them? You will feel better inside and become proud that you remained true to who you are and did not start spreading negativity too.
The fighting thing: Yes, it must be said: Fighting is absolutely never, ever encouraged...but we all are to familiar with a situation that just cant be avoided! Seeking help from adults, distracting yourself in positive ways are all the best, most healthy and preferred methods of dealing with a bully, but...there is never anything wrong with defending yourself! Never instigate or start a fight. If you strongly feel that you are in a position that you just can't walk away from, don't hesitate, defend yourself.
If someone threatens to beat you up...ok then, set some ground rules: they want to fight they can do it in front of everyone, why wait until you are alone? Make it clear that you want others around so no one else jumps in, or uses weapons. Someone will get hurt, so it's best to have others around to get help. In most cases, an authority such as teachers or the police will be involved, having witnesses to explain why the fight occured will be beneficial. Yes, the odds are when fighting you may get hurt, you must be prepared for that and all of the consequences that will follow...but there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself or others!
~submitted by a former student, who positively overcame bullying!