Melissa is a 15-year old from Rochester, NY. She enjoys volunteering and singing. Her favorite subject is English language arts because she wants to be a journalist. Melissa is one of our teen writers and also has her own fabulous advice site for teen girls at: http://girlslife143.webs.com, see more advice for girls at her site!
Bullying is one of the most concerning issues affecting teens in the U.S. It occurs in every school and in every age group. There is always that one girl or that one boy that turns out to be the unlucky one who is targeted by bullies. They try to remain inconspicuous and sit in the back of the classroom, too afraid to make a sound or even answer a teacher’s question.
Bullies often have been bullied themselves. Some other things that cause bully’s to act out are ethnic diversity, jealousy, and their own personal family lives where they are often verbally abused, physically abused or left alone unsupervised. Also, many are doing it for the attention, or to impress others in their circle or friends. It gives them a sense of power over someone else, and many who have a high goal of fitting in may pursue bullying. So most of the time the targets are completely innocent and are just plainly the result of the bully’s insecurities, incivility or bottled up anger.
According to Family First Aid’s website, 30% of teens in the U.S are involved in bullying. This could mean being the bully, the victim or both. Through grades 6-10, 11% state that they have been bullied.
There are several different ways a bully can hurt someone. The one we hear about often (most likely because it’s the only one that gets noticed) is physical bullying. This is when the bully intentionally causes physical harm, i.e. pushing, tripping and punching. A second type of bullying is verbal abuse. These bullies use words as their means of “attack”. This can do more harm than physical abuse as it can stay with them for a long time and victims tend to hide the incidents from others. The third kind of bullying is indirect bullying. The bully may ignore the target or spread rumors about them. This can be hard for parents or teachers to notice. The fact that it’s not done face to face doesn’t change the amount of hurt received by the victim. And finally, the most modern type of bullying is cyber bullying. With all the new cell phones and online sites, many are finding it easier to bully kids online rather than in person. People can pose as others, creating several problems. Many deaths from suicide have occurred from this type. Bullying is far more damaging to it’s victims than what it is thought to be.
The victim tends to think there is something wrong with them, when really it’s nothing at all. As a result of being bullied over time, many become withdrawn. They can develop low self esteem, mild depressive symptoms, and severe social phobia with avoidant personality disorder like traits. Never hesitate to talk to your children if you feel this is going on, and teens never hesitate to tell your parents. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to do that, then please consider telling another adult (a teacher or school counselor).
A bully’s main goal is to get a reaction from the victim. So standing up to them might seem like the right thing to do, but it actually makes matters worse. What is most important is telling someone else you trust. Letting someone else help handle the situation is the right way to go because they can get help for the bully and you, before it worsens. Even the bully is in need of help. The behavior they present can lead to worse scenarios, like fighting, vandalism, stealing, smoking or alcohol/drug abuse. That is why this issue is of great importance.
In fact, bullying has lead to several deaths from suicide. Carl-Walker Hoover at age 11 committed suicide March 9 2009 by hanging himself using an extension cord. It is stated that he was bullied constantly, and thing’s were said like “’you’re gay, you must be gay, you act like a girl.” And even after several complaints to the school they didn’t do enough to stop it sooner. It is important for school staff to not ignore bullying because of the potentially severe short and long term impacts it’ll have on someone’s life. Where this news may be shocking to some, unfortunately these types of harassment occur daily. This information was gathered by http://forum.nin.com/bb/read.php?31,613591.
If your son/daughter is a bully: Bullying is something that should never be tolerated. To make your child understand this, you need to tell him/her that bullying is unacceptable anywhere. Try to look at their home life. Are there adults giving poor examples of how to behave or is there somebody abusive in the family. Make an attempt to change the way thing’s are in the house. Use positive talk to one another, not negative words or putting anyone down. This will give him/her a good example to follow.
If your teen often appears angry or depressed, help him/her find new ways of dealing with those immense feelings. It’s important to teach them how to solve problems without the use of violence or putting down others. Tell him/her to take a deep breath and think before they speak.
Finally, it’s a must to work with your child’s teacher. The teacher should be an active part in stopping the bullying when it occurs, and giving consequences. She should also be telling you what’s going on so that you can work with him/her at home.
If your son/daughter is being bullied: The child needs to know that they are not alone, and that it is not tattling if they talk to a school staff member. Find a way to let the child be able to open up to you, since it’s a must to know what’s going on at school. Let them know that they can tell you anything, and make sure you know everything there is to know.
You should then start reporting the incidents to the school if he/she hasn’t already done so, and more drastic measures may have to occur. It’s whatever you have to do to ensure the safety or well-being of your child. Never give up on helping, since it’s practically impossible for a victim to do it alone. Them knowing there’s someone they can go to makes matters a whole lot better.
Remember- this is not a situation to be taken lightly! So take action now if you see/hear signs of it.
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