Bullying in Schools
This is a subject that effects more people then any other social conflict, yet until recently received little or no attention. The schoolyard bully once considered a basic part of life, an emotional vehicle in existence because it was real conflict resolution, challenges to self-esteem, and the path to becoming self-aware. Life is about changes, experiences, and a person’s ability to cope with the challenges this reality brings. The loss of a stable home, adequate support structures and proper emotional and physical outlets have turned this fact of life from a learning experience into a growth damaging type of abuse.
Kids bully because a bully robs them of their own self-esteem, and they get away without facing consequences. The recipients of the bullying often have limited recourse, compounding the intensity and allowing the bullying to continue, especially as technology allows near instant communication to a vast multitude of people. Silent but threatening actions, single word insults, anonymous attacks via text messages and social networks are the less obvious bullying that chips away at the recipients’ self-esteem, and does not allow for the closure of a confrontation. Bullies that hide behind anonymous attacks, however minor, can cause the greatest amount of damage especially if kept secret.
Kids and teens that bully initially use minor annoyances to begin chipping away at the recipients’ self-esteem, then actions that violate the personal space meant to undermine the recipients’ connection to the social structure. To prevent a bully from being effective, children and teens need to have a verbal and physical outlet, and the reassurance from the authority figures that the behavior is unacceptable. The biggest challenges to social changes are the roles of supportive figures in a child’s life that promote self-esteem, while providing guidance. Without the outlets and support, the bullying can feel relentless and in escapable.
The 21st century schoolyard bully is no longer limited to just the school with more children and teens having access to cell phones and social networks, extending and adding anonymity, to the bullies reach. A parents’ role in preventing bullying and teaching children how to deal with a bully is more important then ever, especially when harassment can follow them home. These attacks can be embarrassing, debilitating and prevent the recipients from coming forward, watching for changes in behavior and a loss of interests in once favored activities can be signs that a bully is effecting a child or teen.