Although, many adults dismiss bullying in school as a childhood rite of passage, this form of aggression may have long-term psychological consequences for the victims of bullying and the bullies themselves. Unfortunately, Bullying can happen at any age and in varying situations, i.e., elders, young children, teenagers, coworkers, etc. However, for the sake of this article we will focusing on young children and teenagers. Victims of chronic ongoing bullying often develop low self-esteem, depression, poor self-image, conduct issues, maladaptive coping skills, engage in self-harming behaviors, or develop suicidal thoughts and ideations.
Interestingly, when many of us think of bullying we think of crude jokes, pranks, rumors, shoving, etc., However, over the years bullying has taken on several different forms that does not consist of just crude jokes, but more physical and aggressive behaviors such as punching, kicking, and other forms of physical contact. Bullying has developed far reaching arms, it can be done several miles away, over the phone, internet, etc.
Side effects of bullying can include:
- Low self-esteem
- Aggressive behavior/conduct disorder
- Poor academic performance
- Self-harming behaviors
- Suicidal ideations
- Revenge thoughts
- Interpersonal problems or challenges
- Self-isolating behaviors
- Victim mentality
- Difficulty trusting others
- Feeling of worthlessness and or helplessness
Types of Bullying Can Include:
- Physical (hitting, kicking, punching, etc.)
- Cyber (use of the internet to harass, demean, insult, etc.)
- Verbal (name calling, insults, spreading malicious rumors)
- Emotional (making the person feel less than, not attractive, not smart, unworthy, etc.)
- Sexual (crude sexual comments, uninvited touching, sexting, etc.)
- Relational (bullying between siblings or other related people)
- Prejudicial (bullying that is based on race, culture, sexual orientation, religion, etc.)
We all have a responsibility and the power to stop bullying. Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. By educating children we can help them develop a better understanding of the negative impact this behavior has on both the child being bullied as well as the individual doing the bullying. Children have the capacity to understand bullying and latent consequences of negative behaviors, keep the lines of communication open, encourage children to do what they love, develop and maintain respect for others, and model behaviors that encourage others to behave with kindness and compassion.