Bullying has been around since the beginning of time.
Unfortunately, many of us can remember the numerous reasons why students get bullied in school. Those reasons are still very much the same even in 2021.
Although bullying has been around since the beginning of time, oftentimes, bullying in 2021, quite a bit different than it did just a few years ago. And certainly different than it did decades ago.
We all understand the stereotypical examples of bullying from years past. Physically, hurting someone, being mentally abusive, or verbally abusive. But, in 2021 bullying can be quite a bit different.
These new forms of bullying can be even harder to see and stop.
Just like most forms of abuse, bullying comes in all shapes and sizes.
The idea of shoving someone down on the playground isn’t necessarily going to be the way we see bullying in 2021. In fact, these days, bullying may just be more likely to be done on a social network or cell phone.
Believe it or not, there are six different types of bullying: physical, verbal, cyber, prejudicial, and sexual.
Children can be bullied for any number of reasons.
However, there are a number of characteristics that make children susceptible to bullying. Oftentimes, bullies target Children who lack self-esteem or the ability to stand up for themselves.
It’s not only students who struggle in school who have to worry about being bullied. Students who are bright and excel in school and those who are exceptionally creative are also often the target of bullying.
Most of us can easily picture the physical side effects of bullying. However, the effects on a child’s mental health can extend far beyond the end of the school day.
Bullying and being bullied can cause students temporary as well as long-lasting effects that linger into adulthood.
Short term side effects of bullying can include:
- Self-esteem challenges
- Trouble sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts or attempts to self-harm
Just because a child is no longer “showing signs” of being bullied, doesn’t mean they are not suffering.
Research supports a correlation between experiencing bullying as a child and a higher possibility of mental health challenges as an adult.
- If the effects of bullying linger into adulthood, victims are likely to have challenges with:
- Panic disorder
- Avoidance of social situations and school
As we know, bullying can often be the result of a troubled home life. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that children who bully others are more likely to face mental health challenges as adults.
It’s been proven those who bully as children are more likely to behave aggressively as adults.
Schizophrenia, substance use, anxiety, and depression are all mental health diseases faced by children who have bullied and been bullied.
Why Bullies Strike
Power, popularity, and peer pressure are some of the more well-known and self-explanatory reasons why bullies begin picking on other students.
There are several other catalysts for becoming a bully. Many of them stem from behavioral health issues at their core.
For young students, their life at home serves as a model and predictor for how they will act in the outside world.
If students see abuse in their homes, they are likely to bully other students. They’re simply modeling the behaviors they see on a regular basis.
Not only can abusive and aggressive parents serve as a spark for students to bully others, but overly permissive or absent parents can also. Plastic
Overly permissive or absentee parents more than likely mean the bully is lacking control in the home life. Control is a fundamental aspect of human nature. As a result, bullies will begin to try to control others as a means of finding the control they are lacking.
Still, other students may become bullies because they are being bullied by a sibling. This form of bullying can often be traced back to copycat behavior based on what they are used to at home and the need to feel in control as we mentioned before.
Bullying may often be the result of a vicious cycle. But, the cycle can be broken. The most important steps adults can take is to learn to recognize the signs of bullying, and be willing to have difficult conversations.
Starting a conversation may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it can be as simple as asking the child if there is anyone they are afraid of or avoiding at school or wherever you suspect the bullying is happening.
The most important thing is don’t be afraid to ask if you suspect there is a problem.
It’s also a good idea to find out that the child has a support system of adults they can trust and feel comfortable talking with.
Bullying in 2021 can take many forms from the pushing and shoving we are all familiar with to cyberbullying on social media.
No one is beyond the reach of a bully. Bullies will torment other students for their struggles as well as their successes.
Both bullies and their victims are at increased risk for short and long-term mental health challenges. Evidence suggests bullying is primarily a cyclical behavior. But, this cycle can be broken. Adults and those with authority simply have to be comfortable asking difficult questions and having conversations.