Posted: August 18, 2010
Last Updated: August 18, 2010
For many bullying at school is a childhood fact of life. Bullying becomes a school age trial for children to endure or deal with as able. But, bullying has deeper social and mental consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator in their lives when bullying goes unchecked. Victims of bullying can suffer depression and loss of self-esteem, and perpetrators can continue to carry out aggressive behaviors learned by grade school bullying into other relationships in their lives.
Bullying is defined as conscious, willful, deliberate, hostile and repeated behavior by one or more people, which are intended to harm others. Bullying can take many forms including:
· Physical violence is the most obvious form of bullying and consists of kicking, hitting, pinching, and hair pulling
· Verbal abuse can accompany physical abuse and includes taunting, name-calling, spreading rumors, and persistent teasing.
· Emotional intimidation is closely connected with the first two forms of bullying and can include threats and intimidation.
· Extortion is when money or possessions are stolen or demanded by a bully.
· Exclusion from the peer group is when a child is deliberately excluded from group activities such as class parties or birthday parties. This is one of the most common bullying used by girls.
Boys tend to report more physical forms of bullying; girls tend to bully in indirect ways, such as gossiping and exclusion. Both boys and girls victims of bullying reported symptoms of depression, including sadness and loss of interest in activities and school. Bullying can cause children to feel unsafe in the places they should feel safest. It lowers the victim’s self-esteem and confidence. Many children can become physically ill or complain of illnesses like stomach problems and sore throat to stay home.
According to social researcher Debra Pepler in a 1997 study of grade school bullying, bullying occurs every seven minutes on a single school playground, and once every 25 minutes in class. These figures may not seem astounding, but bullying is often hidden from teachers. Teachers’ lack of awareness was apparent in playground research where teachers intervened in only one of twenty-five bullying incidents, reported Pepler.
If your child asks for help with a bully you should take it seriously. Don’t tell the victim to deal with the situation. Research has shown that server bullying is rarely solved by the victim. Experts say to remember your child is a victim and treat them with understanding and support. Talk to your child about why people bully and reassure your child that he or she is not to blame for the bullying. When your child asks for help they have usually tried all the alternatives, such as confronting the bully or ignoring the bully. Persistent bullying takes a united stance from the parents and the victim. Pepler says that parents should inform teachers, school counselors and the principal of the situation and keep logs of the bullying for proof of the incidents.
Luckily, bullying can also be dealt in a simple way. Bystanders can play a major role in allowing bullying occur and continue. Over half the time when another student intervenes the bullying stops within 10 seconds observed Pepler.
Children do not out grow bullying. As children grow they tend bully in different and more sever ways. Sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse, assault, gang violence, and elder abuse can be considered bullying as they combine power and aggression of the perpetrator on those in weaker or submissive roles.
To learn more about how to deal with bullying you can visit www.bullying.org, www.stopbullyingnow.comor call Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649 for referral; in Luna County, call 546-2174. For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.