Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bullied children have lasting aftereffects

     Many school children in America are bullied and Finding Happiness in America takes much time to help parents and families cope with children who are victims of bullies. Research reveals key personality traits dwell in full-time bullies, including a desire to dominate others and a strong need to feel in control and to win. There’s also a pattern of aggressive behavior, no remorse for hurting others, and a refusal to accept responsibility for their own actions.
     Eighty percent of children don’t bully others and only a fragment of the 20 percent who do are full-timers...but the aftereffects are far-reaching. Nationwide, roughly 77 percent of students are bullied at some point and 14 percent of them admit to having severe reactions to it.
     Chances are that when bullied children become teenagers and are climbing the mountain to adult maturity, the tough guys presently tormenting them will still be loitering in the same gutter. Why? Because younger children may look up to a bully, but after early adolescence the popularity of the bully mentality collapses.

      It’s ironic, but even though young children may own the problem today, their tormentors may suffer tomorrow. Their universal popularity will thaw as their “browbeater” reputation precedes them into high school, where maturing peers will frown upon them. They’ll have no one but themselves.
     One 35-year study of childhood bullies lays open true problem ownership: by age 24, sixty percent will have one or more criminal convictions, along with alcoholism and many court convictions, dependence on government welfare, antisocial personality disorders, and use of mental health services. They end up “out,” not in control.
     Few bullies, but many of their victims march forward into triumphant adulthoods. As children, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Phil Collins, and Michelle Pfeiffer (to name a few of many) were tormented by bullies. In the long run, young children who are bullied don't own the problem...their bullies do.
     So, there’s hope for the young child being bullied. In the long run, chances are they'll come out on top. Bullying is harmful to both the bully and the victim, so it’s important that parents and teachers be vigilant and preemptive in stopping it before it grows worse. By intervening, you will be helping a lot of students from mental torment: twenty-five percent of students interviewed in a compelling survey reported that one of their most serious fears was being victimized by a bully. The torment may be physical or psychological, but is mostly the latter in the form of mimicking, insults, or humor where the victim is the object of scorn, including demeaning comments about family members, race, clothing, looks or personality, sexual orientation, or values. Most bullying occurs in school areas where no or few teachers are located, including hallways, bathrooms and stairwells and many victims learn that they cannot rely on over-worked teachers to protect them from tormentors. Studies show that teachers perceive and intervene in only 1 out of 25 occasions of bullying (Morano 1995).
     A quick survey found that practically all area schools have anti-bullying policies in place. If your child is bullied at school, seek help by contacting the building principal. 

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions as school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University. He authors the book, "Finding Happiness in America" (Click HERE for Kindle edition).