In todays blog, we deal with the all too common issue of bullying, what makes a bully do what he or she does? Who is a bully? What are the short-and long-term effects of bullying on both the victim and the bully? How do you deal with bullies? All these questions and more will be answered in this article.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is the use of force, threat or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. Their behavior is usually repeated, very few bullies do it once to see what it’s like. It’s very much habitual for a bully.
A good example of this is to cast your mind back to your school days, I’m sure you’ll all agree there was a least one bully in your school and was a bully from start to finish during your years at school or at least till someone put them in their place! When that happens, the bully realizes he picked on the wrong person and is never really thought of in the same intimidating way again having been knocked off his pedestal.
The sense of power bullying gives them leads them to the unrealistic belief that they seriously think they are popular as they nearly always have a group of sheep-like followers walking in their shadow, but if truth be known none or very few of the sheep-like followers truly respect or even like the bully as a person. Bullies are some of the least liked people around.
Bullies come in 4 different types; verbal, emotional, cyber and the physical abusive type is the one most kids have to deal with.
Bullies sadly are everywhere and come in all shapes, sizes, races, nationalities, religions and all ages, from school to the workplace, family and beyond, but the one thing they all have in common is one simple fact; they are all cowards!
They are so unhappy with their own worthless lives they must pick on someone who they consider an easy target to make their own miserable lives seem more important.
The victims are often quiet people, small or over-weight people, basically, someone who is self-conscious about the way they look or someone who simply won’t fight back are always potential victims of bullies.
Just Who Is a Bully?
Studies show that bullies lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others’ feelings. They misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations. They typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully have strained relationships with parents and peers.
Bullies couldn’t exist without victims, and they don’t pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness even in nonthreatening situations and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. Bullies engage in a “shopping process” to determine which children would make suitably submissive victims. Increasingly, children are growing up without the kinds of play experiences in which children develop social skills and learn how to solve social problems.
How to Handle a Bully
The first line of defense against a bully, experts agree, is avoidance. It is wisdom, not weakness, to walk away from a bully. A second line of defense is to recruit a companion; bullies tend not to pick on people who are surrounded by friends, because as we know they are cowards.
Adults have a role to play in making their children bully-proof—equipping their kids with self-confidence. They also would be wise to regularly ask their children how peers treat them. Too often, children are ashamed to tell parents about being bullied. In addition to modeling assertiveness at home and making sure that their children know how and feel free to speak up for themselves, parents can enroll children in groups that train young people in social skills.
Short-term effects of bullying for the victim
All kids are different and are likely to exhibit varying behaviors during or after bullying by a peer. With relational aggression on the rise and cyberbullying easier than ever, it should be noted that bullying can be ongoing for long periods of time before students seek help.
A UCLA study of 2,300 students in eleven middle schools in Los Angeles found that a high level of bullying was associated with lower grades across three years of middle school. Students who were rated as the most bullied performed significantly worse academically than their peers.
Effects on the bullied victim can include: Social isolation. Feelings of shame. Sleep disturbance. Changes in eating habits. Low self-esteem. School avoidance. Symptoms of anxiety. Bedwetting. Higher risk of illness. Psychosomatic symptoms (stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, other physical complaints with no known medical cause). Poor school performance. Symptoms of depression
Long-term effects of bullying for the victim
With immediate and proper mental health treatment and support systems in place, victims can stave off some of the potential long-term consequences of bullying. Without intervention, however, kids are at risk for the following:
Chronic depression. Increased risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts. Anxiety disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Poor general health. Self-destructive behavior, including self-harm. Substance abuse. Difficulty establishing trusting, reciprocal friendships and relationships.
Short-term effects of bullying for the bully
While it can be difficult to empathize with the bully, it’s essential that parents and school officials recognize that bullies engage in bullying behavior for a reason. Without help, the behavior will continue, and potentially worsen, over time.
Effects on the bully can include: Poor school performance (missed school due to suspensions increases this risk). Increased truancy risk. Difficulty maintaining social relationships. Increased risk of substance abuse
One longitudinal study led by a group of scientists in Norway investigated the long-term psychological effects of adolescents. Results of the study indicated that all groups involved in bullying during adolescence, both bullies and victims, experienced adverse mental health outcomes in adulthood. While the victims showed a high level of depressive symptoms in adulthood, both groups experienced an increased risk of psychiatric hospitalization due to mental health disorders.
Long-term effects of bullying for the bully
Without proper treatment, bullying behavior is likely to continue into adulthood. Risk of spousal or child abuse. Risk of antisocial behavior. Substance abuse. Less likely to be educated or employed
Childhood bullying has serious effects on both short and long-term health of children. Immediate intervention and long-term follow-up can help mediate some of these effects. It is imperative that schools, families, and communities work together to understand bullying and its consequences and find ways to decrease, and hopefully eradicate, bullying both in schools and communities.
How we are helping at The Backyard Gym
Here at the Backyard Gym we are running an ongoing campaign to try and help young kids overcome this terrible issue by giving them the confidence and skills to protect themselves.
It`s one thing to know what to do, but, it`s another thing entirely to have the confidence to stand up to a bully and use those skills. That’s why I believe we have developed the all-around package for kids to successfully be able to do both and live their lives free of bullying.
Have you been the victim of bullying? If so, how did you deal with the situation? Whatever you did, did that method you used work for you?