03 Jun Bullying? Look to the home life.
The small town of Dietrich, Idaho is in shock over the recent events that transpired between football team members. Last October three boys shoved a coat hanger up another team member’s rectum. This instance was not isolated and came after a long series of bullying behaviors. The town is divided over the occurrence and the family has sued the school for 10 million. This act of bullying is extreme and has grabbed media attention. But the question of where it all started can be explored more. Acts like this are never isolated, and the events that lead to it can start long before the first act of bullying itself.
The stats for bullying are staggering; 28% of students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying. Out of those who are bullied only an estimated 20-30% report it. Which means 70-80% of all bullying goes unreported and as such no actions are taken. Thirty percent of children admit to bullying others. Cyberbullying is on the rise due to more children having electronic devices. Fifteen percent of students have been bullied using electronics in the past year. And even more devastating, cyberbullying is not isolated to school. It can follow children home, leaving them with no safe place.
Children with a poor home life are more likely to bully others. In most cases bullying is a learned behavior. Children bully others because they have been bullied in the past. And in most cases this comes from home, either from parents or from older siblings. When a child is bullied at home he is learning that the way to deal with frustrations and problems is to lash out at others. Neglectful parenting can also cause children to act out among their peers, and in some cases this leads to bullying. Parents who are not involved with their children’s lives are also more likely to raise children who don’t know how to deal with negative emotions, and they continue throwing fits when things don’t go their way.
Bullying not only has a negative effect on a child’s school life, it also affects him/her at home. Children who are bullied tend to have low self-esteem and self-doubt. Many times they are embarrassed by the situation and hide it from parents, leading to secrecy and withdrawal. The child is left with no support system as they cope with the harassment. School http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/info-facts.asp performance suffers when the child’s focus is turned to the bullying, and children even avoid going to school.
Even when parents are aware of the situation, challenges still arise as they try to deal with their own frustrations and feelings of failure. They may feel powerless to help their child and unsure of how to properly handle the situation.
One myth about bullying is that children will eventually outgrow it and so no action is needed. That is not true. While some people do stop bullying as they age, it is not a sure thing. Many child bullies grow up to be adults who bully, this leads to abuse within family and also in the work place. One study found that children who bully in middle school, by the age of 24 are 60% more likely to have a criminal conviction. Then the cycle repeats itself. They bully their children, who are more likely to bully others, and the negative effects influence the children and their families.
So what can be done to stop this cycle of destructive consequences? Parents can teach their children from an early age how to handle difficult or frustrating situations. Children also need to be accountable for their actions. When they do something wrong they need to realize the consequences. This also goes for schools. When children are bullying this needs to be addressed. Teachers and parents should intervene and stop this behavior. Rather than thinking it will go away on its own, active steps need to be taken to stop the behavior.