What is Bullying? When we think of bullying, we might think of relatively innocuous childhood occurrences where someone is picked on or harassed in elementary or junior high school.
Most of us think of these instances as pretty harmless and a part of growing up. However, the prevalence of bullying with very serious consequences, including murder by the perpetrator or suicide by the victim, appears to be on the rise.
What is bullying?
Bullying happens when one person or a group of people ("bullies") acts against another person (the victim) by deliberately harming that person in some way.
The acts of violence may be physical, emotional, or verbal, but all are done in a way that deliberately harms the victim and causes fear. These acts of aggression are also done over what is often an extended period of time, and sometimes the episodes can escalate in intensity.
Most of the time, what is bullying for us is a physical act of violence, but bullying can occur through emotional or psychological abuse, too. Verbal harassment such as gay bashing in schools can produce terrible consequences in children who do not have the maturity to handle social censure from a peer group.
And in this age of modern technology, there's a new type of bullying-- cyberbullying. Cyberbullying happens when someone is taunted or abused via e-mail, instant messaging, on social networking sites like FaceBook, etc.
And lest you think this type of bullying is less harmful than other types, think again. There have been instances of suicide resulting from this type of bullying, too.
What effects does bullying have on both the victim and on society at large?
Research in Britain shows that "young people who have been bullied do significantly worse at school than those who have not." Those who have been bullied at 14 or 15 years of age scored at least 2 grades lower than other young people of the same age.
Even one instance of bullying can produce serious emotional repercussions in the victim.
Those who have been either victims or bullies as children can become victims or bullies as adults too. And victims, too, may turn the situation around 180 degrees and become bullies when they are adults. Therefore, bullying in childhood can cause either victims or bullies to perpetuate the legacy of violence .
Child and Teen Bullying: How to Help When Your Kid is Bullied
The psychological effects, too, are lasting and damaging. Victims may learn to become victims even as adults in their own lives; they tend to marry people who abuse them and their children. Or, they may act out their frustrations in other ways, through drug abuse, shoplifting, or even suicide as previously mentioned. Researchers have found a link between bullying(as well as being bullied) and suicide in children. Both bullies and victims of bullying have an increased risk for suicidal behavior.
What is bullying's most dangerous effect? This legacy of violence!
What can be done about bullying to stop it?
a)Because bullying begins in childhood and often in a school setting, schools are charged with the task of monitoring the environment of the school.To this end, many schools have now set in place policies that define exactly what bullying is and policies that will not tolerate bullying behavior.
Constant and open dialogue about what is bullying is encouraged within the school system, and immediate intervention by staff members who witness bullying can help stop the problem at its inception.
In Britain, bullying is not just a school problem. Recently, the government has mandated guidance initiatives that take bullying into the whole community arena. This means that
anti-bullying action is everyone's business, not just the school's.
b)Parents, too, must be held accountable; often times, bullies themselves are victimized at home, causing them to take their anger out on smaller, weaker peers. For some bullies, violence is often a means to make themselves more powerful when they themselves have been victimized.
The breaking point for a bullied child(when victim turns bully)depends on several factors:
a) How long has the victim endured bullying?
b) Is there a solution to the bullying?
c)Is there an adult who can broker a solution?
d) Does the victim trust adults?
e)Has the victim felt betrayed by adults around him?
f) Is there positive parenting in the home?
As parents, we need to take our parenting responsibilities seriously. We need to ensure that our children grow up in an environment or culture that empowers them with love and light.
Studies show that bullies have more exposure to TV violence and forceful, physical discipline at home. These studies suggest that like begets like. It is time we reclaim parenting as a serious responsibility.
We need to feed our children the right metaphors of self. Allow them to resonate with metaphors of growth, love, joy and empowerment and they will grow like the buds of Spring. They will sprout new shoots, strong roots, confident leaves and flowers.
Let's help our children understand what is bullying and how it hurts them and others.
Let's reduce our children's exposure to violence. Let us increase their exposure to genuine dialogue and exchange.
Let's help them develop tools for anger management.
Let's help them understand that being alive is being able to choose and that they have a choice for every situation they encounter.
Let's help them understand that every choice has a consequence and that they should consider the context of each consequence before they make their choice.
Let's help them find their way to the most thoughtful choices--not ours but theirs. As parents, we are only lamp-posts in the road of life; we're here to light the way, nothing more.
Let's help them learn this legacy of love and light so they too can pass it on to their children and their children's children.
We need to develop our long term vision and understand that what we encourage now in our offspring is intimately connected to what will happen years down the road.
c)Finally, because victims are often too afraid to speak out about the situation in public for fear of making it worse, private help is available.
An organization called Kids Help Phone has an online forum at that they can join; they can also get help by calling toll-free at 1-800-668-6868.
What is Bullying can take many forms.
What is Bullying needs to be properly defined.Bullying is sometimes portrayed in films and books as a rite of passage.
This form of romanticization of violence is a disservice to both victims and perpetrators. Bullying is an anger disorder that can turn deadly, but it can be stopped at its inception.
We need to understand The Truth About Bullies.
Counseling for parents and families of victims and bullies can be a good way to start.
Violence begins in the home and it is there that the issue must be addressed.
Disclaimer: The above information is meant only to inform and should never displace professional consultation.