Bullying Can Be the Gateway to Other Risk Behaviors
Bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis. Many children succumb to bullies, as a way to "fit-in"!
I will never forget, disciplining our Jenny, in intermediate school, for repeatedly tearing up binders, losing books and other important things and bringing her lunchkits home, filled with trash! Although she knew she was not to blame, she withstood the discipline because she did not want the underlying problem addressed. She NEVER wanted to get anyone in trouble! One day, after picking her up from school, she got in the car, closed the door and burst into tears, saying, "I can't take it anymore!" I immediately parked the car and we went into the school to identify the problem. After an investigation, it was determined that a large number of students had been harassing Jenny. When she would go to her locker, they would slam it shut and kick her binder and books, up and down the hall. At lunch these same "friends" would check out to see what they wanted in her lunch and then. after taking what they wanted, would fill her kit with all of their trash. Jenny never said a word. She wanted to be accepted and desperately wanted friends. The bullying continued through high school and we believe that her desire to "fit-in" led her to learn and TRY to play the "Choking Game", an activity, participated in by teens and likely taught to her in the restrooms at school. That desire to "fit-in" ultimately led to her death on 12/27/08, as a result of playing the "Choking Game" ALONE!
Bullying can be physical or verbal. Boys tend to use physical intimidation or threats, regardless of the gender of their victims. Bullying by girls is more often verbal, usually with another girl as the target. Bullying is also common in online chat rooms, through e-mail and on social networking sites.
Children who are bullied experience suffering that can interfere with their social and emotional development, as well as their school performance. Some victims of bullying have even attempted suicide, rather than continue to endure such harassment.
The next article will be on How to Deal with Bullying...