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What is Bullying?
What is Bullying?
Bullying: A child’s nightmare
My article was about bullying and how kids learn to deal with it. Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. Yet because parents, teachers, and other adults don't always see it, they may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Getting into detail about why kids are bullied and even why kids bully other kids is a pivotal standpoint in figuring out how to prevent it.

What is Bullying?
Bullying is when a person is picked on over and over again by an individual or group with more power, either in terms of physical strength or social standing. Two of the main reasons people are bullied are because of appearance and social status. Bullies pick on the people they think don't fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act (for example, kids who are shy and withdrawn), their race or religion, or because the bullies think their target may be gay or lesbian. Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault. Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge. For example, people in popular groups or cliques often bully people they categorize as different by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying). Verbal bullying can also involve sending cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website — practices that are known as cyber bullying. All forms of bullying lead to psychological, emotional, as well as physical issues. So it is important to know how bullying affects your child. (kidshealth.org)
How bullying Affects You
One of the most painful aspects of bullying is that it is relentless. Most people can take one episode of teasing or name calling or being shunned at the mall. However, when it goes on and on, bullying can put a person in a state of constant fear. Guys and girls who are bullied may find their schoolwork and health suffering. Studies show that people who are abused by their peers are at risk for mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They may also think about suicide more. Bullies are at risk for problems, too. Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. It's estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30. Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy. Researchers on stop bullying now’s website state that between 15-25% of U.S. students are bullied with some frequency, while 15-20% report they bully others with some frequency, and that young people who bully are more likely than those who don't bully to skip school and drop out of school. They are also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol and get into fights. It scares kids so much that they skip school. As many as 160,000 students may stay home on any given day because they're afraid of being bullied. Bullying not only affects the children being bullied, it also affects the bully as well. (www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov)
How Bullying Affects the Bully
Bullies tend to be physically larger and stronger than their peers, impulsive, easily frustrated and physically aggressive. While many people believe bullies act tough in order to hide feelings of insecurity and self- loathing, in fact, bullies tend to be confident, with high self-esteem. They are generally physically aggressive, with pro- violence attitudes, and are typically hot-tempered, easily angered, and impulsive, with a low tolerance for frustration. Bullies have a strong need to dominate others and usually have little empathy for their targets. Male bullies are often physically bigger and stronger than their peers.14 Bullies tend to get in trouble more often, and to dislike and do more poorly in school than teens who do not bully others. They are also more likely to fight, drink, and smoke than their peers. Some teenagers not only bully others but are also the targets of bullies themselves. Like other bullies, they tend to do poorly in school and engage in a number of problem behaviors. Children who bully are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school. They also tend to be socially isolated, with few friends and poor relationships with their classmates. Young bullies carry a one-in-four chance of having a criminal record by age 30. Bullies are usually unaware how severe picking on other kids can be and do not realize that they are creating a deep, lasting memory in their victims mind. (www.k12.wa.us)

Statistics on Children Who Have Been Bullied
The experience of being bullied can end up causing lasting damage to victims. This is both self-evident, and also supported by an increasing body of research. It is not necessary to be physically harmed in order to suffer lasting harm. What is far more difficult to mend is the primary wound that bullying victims suffer which is damage to their self-concepts; to their identities. Bullying is an attempt to instill fear and self-loathing. Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable and effective individual. There is an outcome that stem from learning to view you as a less than desirable, incapable individual. The outcome is that it becomes more likely that you will become increasingly susceptible to becoming depressed and/or angry and/or bitter. Being bullied teaches you that you are undesirable, that you are not safe in the world, and (when it is dished out by forces that are physically superior to yourself) that you are relatively powerless to defend yourself. When you are forced, again and again, to contemplate your relative lack of control over the bullying process, you are being set up for Learned Helplessness (e.g., where you come to believe that you can't do anything to change your ugly situation even if that isn't true), which in turn sets you up for hopelessness and depression. The effects bullying victims may experience:
Short term:
Anger, depression, anxious avoidance of settings in which bullying may occur, greater incidence of illness, lower grades than non-bullied peers, suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Long Term:
Reduced occupational opportunities, lingering feelings of anger and bitterness, desire for revenge, difficulty trusting people, interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situations, increased tendency to be a loner, and increased incidence of continued bullying and victimization. What is important is that the child is given advice to help prevent and possibly stop bullying.

How to Help Your Child
There is a list of ways to help your child deal with bullies and show them that they don’t have to just stand by and take it. The following tips can help prevent bullying:
* Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a coward's response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away, or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.
* Hold the anger. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down.
* Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully doesn’t use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe that bullying is a part of growing up and that hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.
* Practice confidence. Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself even if you have to fake it at first. (kidshealth.org)
I feel that most people hesitate to speak out because it can be hard. It takes confidence to stand up to a bully — especially if he or she is one of the established group leaders. Some kids are so deeply affected; it ultimately leads to them acting out violently. I do believe that the kids that are doing the bullying have been affected by some form of abuse or neglect at home. They are so young and do not realize that their issues at home are driving them to act in the same manner as their abuser. I was bullied as a child, and I feel that because my mother was involved in my life and we had an open relationship, it helped me to overcome the thoughts of feeling worthless and hopeless. That is what kids need in these situations. Someone to tell them that they are loveable and that they are worth fighting for. Bullying has been around for ages and some of the most horrific events have come about because of it. I hope that kids and parents will observe how terrible these situations are and think twice before they become an abuser of another person. Today, we need to be involved in our kids school lives, social lives and they need to have a healthy home life. Bullies are not just made out of thin air; somewhere they have seen an adult bullying another adult. Some parents do not watch what type of character they display in front of kids. Some parents don’t even pay attention to their kids at all. I feel that neglect is the number one reason that there are bullies and that there are kids that are targets. So in conclusion, if any person has a child that is being bullied, or has a child that is a bully, there parent must do all in their power to turn it around. Love and appreciation is the best policy for any lost, disturbed kid. So parents, step up to the plate and save our kids from senseless violence.

References
Facts For Teens: Bullying, www.k12.wa.us
The Long Term Effects of Bullying, www.mentalhelp.net
Stop Bullying Now, www.stopbullyingnow.org

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