Bullying is a prevalent behavioral issue among adolescents. It can be defined in terms of any and all forms of aggression where one is targeted and is repeatedly, physically, or verbally harassed. This type of behavior, whether it is the bully or the one being bullied, can lead to long and short-term effects on the mental wellness of a still developing adolescent.
According to Siebecker & Swearer, the three types of bullying behavior that is generally observed by researchers and psychologists are 1) behavior that is intended to cause harm, 2) the behavior continues over a period of time, and 3) there is an imbalance of power (2011). Bullies can exclude others, make fun of, ignore, lie about, and even steal from and assault their targets. These behaviors can be physical or verbal and carry equally negative consequences. Bullying can be direct or indirect. It is important as a counselor and a service to our students, to be aware of the prevalence of this toxic behavior and alert for signs of bullying because you could be an active helper and advocate for these fragile beings.
Gender and sexual orientation can influence styles of bullying in different ways. Sexual orientation can lead to bullying students or groups based on their sexual preferences which becomes bullying, discrimination, and even a hate crime. Student being bullied for being a homosexual or bisexual is common among adolescents. Influences based on gender can be, for both male and female, sexual harassment. Being sexually harassed is another form of bullying that can cause great distress and emotional and mental health issues. There are so many influences to consider when analyzing characteristics of bullying.
Studies are revealing more and more, the mental health problems that are commonly associated with bullying. Bullying has a significant negative impact on the mental health of a developing adolescent. These effects of bullying can often carry over into adulthood. This is a relevant issue for studying based on the fact that bullying not only affects 30% of school aged children in the U.S.( National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, (2012), but also leads to more serious issues like violence, depression, and even suicide. For a developing adolescent that already has so much to deal with, being bullied can cause so many issues that can do long-term damage. Cyber-bullying has made headlines in the last decade many times for being the reason for child suicide rates increasing. This is being bullied online or bullying someone online and it has is serious enough that children are committing suicide because the immense pressures associated with the behavior. This is a good example of how bullying affects self esteem. Self esteem issues can be the result of being bullied but can also cause a bully to be one. People who bully other people sometimes do it for power over another individual which can stem from low self esteem; in other words it builds them up to break people down. Sometimes it is just for attention or show, just acting out. There are some mental health problems that need to be addressed in a sensitive manner. Besides being a bully, being the victim of bullying can cause extremely low self-esteem, anxiety and stress to the point of self torment and isolation. Family interactions have a heavy influence on bullying. Bullies usually have witnessed family violence at some point or all of the time growing up. Interactions between parents and adolescents can actively affect their children’s behavior. Maybe the parents do not take much interest in what the child does, the child may rebel or act out to give them a reason to get interested. There are three styles of parenting associated with bullying. They are identified as intrusive-overprotective parenting, parental psychological overcontrol, and parental coercion (Olsen & Fuller, 2010). Each...
References: Amanda Siebecker,& Susan Swearer (2010). Bullying. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1145&context=edpsychpapers
G. Olsen & M.L. Fuller (2010). Family Interaction Patterns: Bullying and Victimizing in Children. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/family-interaction-patterns-bullying/
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