This paper takes a look at the negative aspects and adverse consequences seen in bullying, specifically the bullying of children and the effects this may potentially have once they come into adulthood. We will look at bullying from all angles, look at future consequences, and discuss when it is appropriate to intervene.
Bullying: Negative Aspects and Adverse Consequences of Bullying
Bullying has been a hot button topic in recent years within our society, and as it should be. It is not just the kids who are being bullied that are suffering the effects; kids who are bullying, as well as kids who are witness to bullying, stand to see negative effects. In this paper we will discuss the future of negative effects caused by bullying, the warning signs of bullying, and finally we will take a look at if and when it is appropriate for parental intervention when it comes to bullying.
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Let us first take a look at what the future holds for those children who have been affected by bullying. While some may think that it is only the children who are being bullied who stand to see any adverse future consequences, that is actually not the case. Kids doing the bullying, as well as bystanders, stand to see a future of negative effects. Kids who are bullied stand to see the most obvious consequences: decline of academic achievements and possibly not wanting to attend school at all, in order to avoid the situation all together, and second, but possibly more important, impacts on mental health. Common impacts on mental health associated with children who are bullied include anxiety, depression, and in very serious cases, suicide. In perhaps the most serious of cases, children may turn to retaliation as a coping mechanism.
A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied (StopBullying.gov, 2018).
Along with kids who have been bullied, children who have witnessed bullying, as well bullies themselves, may see negative consequences of these encounters in the future. Children who are bystanders to bullying may want to skip or miss school as a result of the bullying they witnessed, it can also cause anxiety and depression. Kids who bully others are more likely to have substance abuse problems in the future, as well display aggressive or abusive behavior. Bullies are also more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier (StopBullying.gov, 2018).
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Next, let’s look at what the warning signs are of bullying; there are many. Let’s just focus on the most common and easy to spot warning signs that parents should be on the look out for when it comes to bullying. Parents should be cognizant of children coming home with enigmatic injuries and/or lost or broken belongings. Another warning sign is a decline in academics, or children who feign illness or purposefully try to avoid or miss school, as well as kids who have difficulty sleeping and are often waking with nightmares. Finally, children who display signs of “self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide” (StopBullying.gov, 2018).
Lastly, when looking at these warning signs, it is important to note when a parent should or should not decide to intervene on the child’s behalf. As a parent, it can be tough to decide when to go to battle for your child, and when you let the child fight it out on their own. When your child is dealing with what would be considered a minor conflict, it may actually do more harm than good to try to intervene. Never allowing a child to try to solve conflicts for him or herself, may eventually hinder the child’s ability to work out conflicts on their own. That being said, stepping in during a major conflict may be necessary. As a parent, you need to make sure you can tell the difference between a minor conflict among children, and genuine bullying, which can be assessed by using the warning signs listed above, as well as having clear and open communication with your child. “The key is to respond rationally rather than emotionally” (Wolfe, 2017). This can definitely be difficult to do when your kid is involved, but it is necessary for a favorable outcome.
As a parent, most people feel like it is their job to protect their child from pain, physical or otherwise. However, sometimes, letting your child learn how to solve conflict on their own is necessary for their own growth. What is never acceptable, however, is any unwanted, aggressive behavior between children. One of the most important parts of dealing with bullying as a parent, is knowing the difference. At some point in their adolescence, most kids will deal with bullying in some way, shape or form. As a parent, it is important to keep lines of communication open, and to be prepared with a plan for when bullying inevitably rears its ugly head, in order to avoid any and all negative consequences of bullying.
- StopBullying.gov. August 14, 2018. Bullying. https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/index.html.
- Wolfe, Lisa. July 14, 2017. Bullying: When Should I Intervene?. Daily Beast. https://www.thedailybeast.com/bullying-when-should-i-intervene.
- American Psychological Association. 2019. Bullying. https://www.apa.org/topics/bullying/.
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