What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or as the potential to be repeated over time.  There are three types of bullying: Verbal, Social and Physical.

Being bullied is both heartbreaking and miserable for those targeted. But many adults, unless they too have been bullied, have a hard time understanding just how much kids can suffer. They fail to realize that the consequences of bullying are significant and can have a lasting impact.

Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions about what it means to bullied. For instance, when some people report being bullied, it is automatically assumed that the victim di something to encourage the attacks.

Society often believes the bullied victims are whiners and that they need to toughen up. Believing this is not only buying into the myths about bullying, but they are also removing the responsibility for bullying off of the bullies' shoulders and placing it on the victims' shoulders.

Another common misconception is the belief that only weak, isolated students are targeted by bullies. This is simply not the case. Bullies target well-liked , popular, athletic kids often as they target kids who struggle to make friends.

Overall, being a victim of bullying is not an overreaction. Likewise bullying victims are not "too sensitive" and they do not "need to learn to take a joke" or  "toughen up".

Research has shown that bullying has

lasting consequences, many of which are

long-term. In fact, when kids are repeatedly bullied, it can affect them emotionally and psychologically. For instance, they may experience low self esteem, and inability to trust others, and have trouble forming lasting friendships.

But the effects of being bullied are more than just emotional and psychological.  In fact, research shows that there may be physical, structural differences in the brains of teens who are regularly victimized.  According to a study in the journal Molecular Psychology, these physical changes could actually contribute to mental health issues later in life.

Victims of bullying can develop serious issues if bullying is not addressed right away.  For instance, some bullying victims experience anxiety and depression. Some even develop eating disorders, sleep disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder.  In severe cases, victims of bullying may contemplate suicide, especially if they feel hopeless, alone, and out of options.

If you or your child are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for support. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

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