Youth bullying has existed for decades, if not centuries. In recent years, it has been covered regularly in the national media. Incidents of extreme nature often get covered in local news casts. Unfortunately, at times, bullied children or teen-agers wind up taking their own lives. These cases often make national news.
A study done by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that about half of all children experience some types of bullying during elementary or secondary school. They also learned that 10 percent of children are subject to bullying on a regular basis.
The ramifications of youth bullying can be far reaching and serious in the lives of some children. It can affect their view of what they deem as normal relationships with other people. Their self esteem could be affected, and it can take a long term negative turn. Youth bullying could also result in a child being stunted emotionally and socially, In extreme cases, it can result in the bullied child falling into deep depression, or even attempt suicide.
A Definition of Youth Bullying
Bullying is the act of one individual using intimidation to dominate another individual he or she sees as being weaker.. The bullying party hopes to get what he wants by coercion or physical force. Also, bullying can take the form of verbal or emotional abuse and intimidation. With the growing popularity of the internet, it has become a playground for cyber bullies that use email, chat rooms, or sites like Facebook as platforms for attacking their peers.
In general terms, boys are apt to use physical force and tactics when they bully someone. Girls are more inclined to use verbal abuse, and other forms of continuous harassment.
In many cases, children that are the targets of bullying are reluctant to report it to their parents. There are signs parents can look for if they suspect their child is being bullied.
* Your child speaks fearfully about one of his peers.
* There is a decline in your child’s grades and overall school performance.
* Your child seems to be falling into a state of depression.
* Your child becomes increasingly withdrawn.
* Your child shows fear when it comes time to go to school.
* Your child’s self esteem declines rapidly.
* You see visible sign of physical violence on your child’s body.
Emotional bullying may be harder to spot in your child. You should look for signs increased low self esteem, and a growing reluctance about attending school.
On the flip side, parents should be on alert if they suspect their child is a bully. Unchecked bullying can lead to ongoing negative behavior, such as criminal activity, Developing positive personal relationships could be a problem, as well as good working relationships in the work place.
Here’s what you should look for if you suspect your child is a bully.
* Your child feels the need to dominate others and control situations.
* Your child feels the need to be aggressive towards both children and adults.
* Your child has a strong tendency to be easily frustrated.
* Your child embraces violence as a means of solving problems.
* Your child shows no sympathy regarding others who are victims of bullying.
* If your child witnessing bullying, he will do nothing to stop it.
Parental Roles in Bullying
Parents, of course, play a key role in many aspects of the bullying problem. First, parents who communicate regularly with their children on an open basis, will have a much better chance of detecting out of the ordinary behavior that can come about if their child begins to be a victim of bullying. Correct and sensitive parenting that results in a caring form of bonding makes it less probable a child will resort to bullying his or her fellow classmates in a school setting. If any aggressive behavior at home is curbed and disciplining correctly, it generally won’t result in bullying behavior by the child outside of home.
In contrast, the wrong behavior by parents are likely to push a child toward being a bully. Physical discipline by parents can lead a child to believe it is acceptable for then to act in the same manner with others.
Mother who manipulate family members to get what they want may prompt their daughters to do the same in their interactions with their peers,
Even constant negative language spoken by parents can make children believe it’s acceptable to attack others in the same manner.
If parents have a child engaged in bullying behavior, they may want to ask themselves: “What did we do to contribute to the situation?”
The internet explosion has added a new dimension to bullying, and is something parents have to monitor. Cyber bullying can happen in undercover privacy, but the ongoing impact can be just as dangerous as in person bullying. If parents are unaware, it may be too late before the problem reaches critical mass. Lines of communication have to be there. If warning signs appear, parents must take into consideration that cyber bullying may be the cause of the growing problem.
School bullying is defined as bullying that takes place on school property. It can be peer to peer bullying. It also can be older children targeting younger ones. Or bullying in which a teacher is the victim or the person doing the bullying.
A study by the National Center for Education in 2007 revealed that nearly 33% of all students between the ages of 12 to 18 had been a victim of bullying.
A type of bullying somewhat unique to schools is pack bullying, It most typically takes place in high school. The group action could be jocks going after nerds, or popular mean girls attacking the less attractive or popular.
Pack bullying can take place in cyberspace or in person. In person bullying happens in various venues, including school yards, hallways, classrooms, or sports fields or courts. Typical targets of school bullying Include:
* Homophobic bullying of gay people
* Bullying of students with disabilities
* Racist bullying of non-majority students
* Targeting students because of their religious beliefs
Youth Bullying Intervention
Although it can be difficult to prevent the start of bullying, parents, teachers, or school administrators can be on the outlook for it, and be ready to step in with an intervention before things get out of hand for both the victim and the perpetrator of the bullying.
It is important to intervene in a bullying situation as quickly as possible. The victim and the bully should be interviewed separately. This will probably make it easier to get to the truth of the incident. The bully should be reminded that he or she is breaking school or family rules, depending on the venue of the bullying.
In the broader sense, bullies should be informed that many of the acts involved in bullying, such as physical violence, stealing, libelous or slanderous statements are, in fact, criminal offenses, and could subject them to involvement in at least the juvenile court system.
The victim should be informed that the the intervention is just the beginning of the process to put an end to the bullying cycle. That their physical and mental well being should be on the road to repair.
Hopefully, co-operative parents on both sides of the spectrum can be brought in be a positive force as it pertains to the intervention, It’s entirely possible that even willing parents may need the help of trained professionals to help determine the best course of action for their children, be it long or short term treatment.
For the bully, some type of behavioral modification can be sought in the for of therapy, which may include anger management counseling, or a way of getting to the root cause of the child’s desire to engage in bullying.
For the victim, it may be important to raise their self-esteem, and steer them into a strong state of mind that prevents them from falling prey to bullies that often target the weak.
There are several programs designed to reduce bullying in schools. Most involve an organized effort that include students, parents, and school personnel. Target methods include:
* Creating a general mission statement for the bullying prevention program.
* Develop school wide rules and a reporting system.
* Create a climate in which bullying is not acceptable or tolerated.
* Create a culture of acceptance, tolerance, and respect.