A bully is a person committing a sustained and deliberate act of threatening, humiliating, or aggressive behavior toward someone they perceive to be weaker or more vulnerable. There are many forms of bullying, including verbal, physical, and social. What are the effects of bullying?
Bullying can occur in person as well as online, which is known as cyberbullying. Physical, emotional, and psychological harm is caused by bullying, and a bully can be someone or a group who abuses the power they have over vulnerable individuals who don’t know how to resist.
Effects of Bullying on Children
The topic of bullying is a pretty popular one among parents and teachers. Sadly, bullying can occur during early childhood and increases during elementary school. In middle school, this happens most frequently and hopefully decreases in high school.
Children who are bullied feel that their lives and existence are at risk. When a child experiences something like that, it can be very traumatic for them. The incident can remain in someone’s memory for a long time.
How do you find out if your child is being bullied, and what can you do about it?
How to Recognize Bullying in Children
The following are a few things to be on the lookout for;
1. Behavioral Changes
One sign that your child is being bullied at school is sudden changes in behavior. If your child seems sad, withdrawn and angry, they may be being bullied. Physical things like their books or other personal items may have been damaged or lost.
2. Frequent complaints of Minor illnesses
Often, young children cannot verbally express their emotions, so they do so through physical symptoms. Sometimes young kids are accused of pretending to be ill when in fact they are displaying stress symptoms.
It is more likely for bullying victims to experience long-term sleep disturbances. If your child’s sleep pattern suddenly changes or they are not getting enough sleep, don’t ignore it. This could be a sign of their distress from being bullied.
Getting enough sleep is important, as bullies like to target children who may look tired and “weak” to them.
3. Loss of Appetite
Pay attention to your child\’s eating pattern, especially if it suddenly changes. You may notice that your child starts skipping meals or eating in excess. Being bullied may lead your child to do so.
What can you do if your child is being bullied?
Talking to your children every day about how their school is going is important. Be interested in what they do. Get them to open up about what experiences they\’ve had, ask simple questions and share a bit about how your day went. You can ask about:
- Things that went well and things that went wrong that day
- Who sat with them at lunch?
- What did they do during recess?
- Ask if they wish to discuss anything that did not go well for them, their friends, or trusted adults at school
- Discuss who they can talk to when things get bad at school
- Maintain eye contact and be very patient
- Whenever your child comes to you, be ready to speak and to listen
- Spend time each day with your child, so they can feel connected to you and begin to open up to you.
- In order for our children to know that crying is okay, we want to teach them that it is okay to feel sad, but if they have been bullied, one piece of advice we can give them is to avoid letting the bully see them cry and to calmly walk away. This is so they don\’t appear weak to the bully.
Be a Role Model
Your child needs to see you modeling appropriate behavior and being kind, sympathetic, and supportive towards others.
As a parent, one of the best pieces of advice you can give your child if they have been bullied is to remain calm, to not engage with the bully, but to report it as soon as it happens.
Even when a child isn’t being bullied, they can step in and intervene by reporting the bullying. This will give them the opportunity to stand up for a child who is being bullied.
Long Term Effects of Bullying
Bullying behavior has been around since the beginning of time. We see it in many cultures as well. Bullying has always been looked at as something that is bad, and most people think of bullying as a short-term thing where the victims will not have any effects after the bullying is over.
Effects of bullying into adulthood
Studies have, however, shown that people who were bullied as children have higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Most bullying takes place in middle school, but it can also occur in high school and at work. Through the rise of technology and the internet, bullying has spread out and entered our private lives. Cyberbullying involves hurtful remarks or messages posted online.
According to this study, people who are bullied are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety. Bully victims have been found to have higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts.
Additionally, they tend to be a loner, unhappy, and have low self-esteem.
Mentalhelp.net concludes that victims of bullying continue to have problems decades after the unveiling has stopped.
I can\t emphasize enough how important it is that parents and teachers try to identify the signs and signs of bullying, as well as prevent bullying itself, in order to prevent its long-term effects.
Do Boys Bully differently from Girls
Male bullies tend to use physical force and name-calling, while female bullies like rumors and social exclusion.
Both boys and girls can use the internet to engage in cyberbullying. They may use verbal attacks, embarrassing photos, or revenge to get back at someone after a breakup, such as posting nude or embarrassing pictures of the person onto the Internet.
About the Bullies
More often than not, bullies are not even aware that they\’re bullies. They won’t admit that they’re bullies, they blame their behavior on the actions of others, and they tend to see the victim of the bullying as the person who brought it upon themselves, so making interventions aimed at self-awareness for bullies really doesn’t work.
It is common for cyberbullies to be unaware of the effects of their actions on victims since they rarely see the results of their actions.
Thus, they post something online and fail to see the devastation it causes.
Bullies typically don’t see themselves as having negative self-esteem, they see themselves as very powerful.
Difference between Cyberbullying and Regular Bullying
As a result, while in-person bullying may end after the initial incident, cyberbullying continues well beyond the initial incident because the images, the information, and whatever else live online well beyond the moment, and it\’s very difficult to remove things from online, so the person who is the victim of cyberbullying doesn\’t necessarily give it up at the moment; they continue to deal with it often for years to come.
Signs of Cyberbullying in Teens
Teenagers who are victims of cyberbullying are likely to experience major changes in their sleep patterns, along with big changes in their online usage after being online.
It is possible that the teen will create new accounts on social media or shut down their older accounts.
Help your teen report the bully and encourage them to report other bullies once you discover your teen is being bullied online.
You could also help your teen by having them;
• Social media should be avoided
• Avoid computers and other electronic devices in the evening
• Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule even on holidays
• Sleep in a cool and darkroom to improve their quality of sleep
Effects of Bullying on Mental Health
Psychological disorders like PTSD, as well as other stress-related mental health issues, are common among bullying victims. The distress persists whether the bullying occurs in person or online.
Studies have shown that the more bullying you experience as a child, the more distress you experience.
In some cases, the stress can be extremely severe, and the victim might be at greater risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Negative Effects of Bullying
- People who have been bullied as children are more likely to consider suicide or have suicidal ideation as adults.
- Those who are bullied tend to think negatively about themselves because they see themselves in a negative light and sometimes even wonder if they brought bullying upon themselves.
- The other negative side effect of bullying is that victims usually develop a low sense of self-worth and low self-worth.
Effects of Bullying at School
The bullies seek out those who are weak and vulnerable. Sometimes these victims may already be struggling in their home life or don\’t have a good home life, or they may look or sound a certain way that makes them appear vulnerable. The bully tends to pick on that aspect.
It is likely that the bullied child will lose interest in school, his grades will suffer, and his behavior will be off. Sometimes children will not tell their parents about bullying.
A child who reports bullying to a teacher and nothing changes will feel alone and believe no one will protect them.
Types of Bullying we Fail to Consider
Bullying can also take other forms that are not obvious, and we may not even think of them as bullying, including hate crimes, sexual harassment, and discrimination.
Bullying is never one’s fault. People who have been bullied are embarrassed to admit it, so they tend to ignore it and pretend it never happened.
Bullying and self-blame always result in shame. It may be beneficial to talk to someone about your experience. It may help lift the weight off your shoulders.
Through talking about your experiences, you might also begin to receive treatment for anxiety, depression, troubled relationships, social awkwardness, employment issues, and other things that result from being bullied as a child.
Rather than letting them wear you down, focus on the positive to boost your confidence.
We can help break the chain of bullying if we just don’t stand by when someone is being bullied.