You would have to crawl out from under a rock where you’ve been hiding in order to not have noticed how much attention is being given by different people from all walks of life to the problem of childhood bullying.
If you’re a dance advocate, the latest installment of “So You Think You Can Dance,” summertime’s forum for young, fresh, new talented dancers; featured a new choreographer who created a dance piece based on the theme of bullying to rave reviews.
With the political hotbed involving gay marriages and all the attention focused on insensitivity to people with different sexual preferences and orientation, websites have sprung up and television has added new commercials reminding people of some of the negative impacts insensitivity and bullying can have.
Parents are contributing their input at school meetings and newsletters all over the country and mental health professionals continue to yield results of how traumatic and harmful bullying is.
Horrifically, there are reports in local newspapers linking teenage suicides with instances of extreme bullying. So we are at the point where we can no longer respond lightly as if this is just a trivial matter.
And now, in a new analysis presented at the American Psychological Association’s 121st Annual Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, it was found that people who were repeatedly bullied throughout childhood and adolescence were significantly more likely to experience more adverse legal consequences as compared to individuals who did not endure repeated bullying.
The study also compared the long-term results of gender differences with bullying and yielded results that revealed that women who were chronically bullied from childhood through their teens faced significantly greater odds of using alcohol or drugs, and of being arrested and convicted than men who had grown up experiencing chronic bullying.
According to Michael G. Turner, PhD of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, this is the first study of its kind because “any previous research has examined bullying during specific time periods, whereas this study is the first to look at individuals’ reports of bullying that lasted throughout their adolescence and as adults.”
So we are finally looking at bullying as something much more than an occasional event in a child’s life and seeing it as the continuously ongoing, chronic degrading experience that it truly is. When there is no intervention and a child is bullied, we are asking them to return to the “scene of the crime” and the “criminal” over and over again, on a daily basis. These children are put into the position of having to fear the next encounter which they are guaranteed will continue to occur, in many cases, escalate to something worse than the last time.
If a person with an open wound was asked to have it exposed and go swim in a body of salt water, the one thing they could guarantee themselves would happen is that there would be a lot more pain. And continuing to be in an environment where the bully is, presents the same type of situation for the victim.
“This study highlights the important role that health care professionals can play early in a child’s life when bullying is not adequately addressed by teachers, parents or guardians,” Turner said. “With appropriate questions during routine medical checkups, they can be critical first points of contact for childhood victims. Programs that help children deal with the adverse impacts of repeated bullying could make the difference in whether they end up in the adult legal system.”
I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!