How to stop bullying and its long term psychological effects?
Bullying is a consistent behavior that somehow humiliates the target(s), which involves verbal and/or physical abuse. It is an act of controlling and intimidating others as a means to acknowledge the offenders’ self worth and superiority over others. The psychological impact on the victim is so devastating that they never seem to actually forget everything, even if the abuse has been stopped long back. Bullying others develops among children at an early age if their habits and daily activities aren’t monitored by their parents, guardians or school teachers.
A bully can be anyone of any age, race, sex, religious background, region, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Well not always true but there are still several evidences that support that the bullies were themselves the victims few years back or are still the victims at home or some other place. There are always numerous things going on in a person’s mind. If a person feels humiliated by those who have already gained a sense of superiority over him/her the results are always varying. Some tend to receive a negative message that being physically or emotionally weak is not acceptable. So, they try to learn manipulating others themselves as they grow older. Some simply change the environment where they feel their worth isn’t there. Some allow the bullies continue whatever harm they have started. This obviously doesn’t mean that the victims enjoy being snubbed. They just don’t know what to do because with a passage of time they find the fault in themselves since they get somehow convinced that there is terribly wrong with them and not the bullies, quite literally.
There are many cases in primary, middle as well as high schools that have at least two or three bullies whom everybody wants to avoid being in their surroundings. This is because normal people always want to escape the terrible scenario that likely happen in the presence of such over dramatic mean perpetrators. Most educational institutions ignore these issues and take it as part of growing kids’ everyday activities that sometimes occur and passes with time. But in reality that is not the case. A person may seek vengeance and that could make him/her potential criminals in future, involving murders.
The mass shootings in the United States that occurred in high school (12 out of 15 total cases), being recorded in the 1990s, mostly involved those frustrated individuals who had a history of being bullied. This certainly does not justify their bad behavior but the point is if the authority or the people in the surroundings act entirely mute to the incidence that happens to be occurring right in front of them on regular basis may result a havoc. The term ‘havoc’ not only involves offending others but also self harming. Many incidences of suicides also involve those who were once the victims. Following are the after effects of bullying to those who are victimized:
Anxiety, stress and depression
Feeling of loneliness
Disinterest in activities that were once enjoyable
Less involvement in extra curricular activities
Poor overall performance in school or workplace
Poor self worth and esteem
Having hard time in controlling the anger
Suicidal thoughts or actually committing and/or succeeding
Above issues may have short to long term effects depending on how long they were being bullied and to what extent. That means was it confined to just the verbal abuse or extended to physical harassment as well? At what age that happened? If a person is just in 1st or 2nd grade then it is usually forgotten but if it occurs during his/her teenage time or adulthood, the effects are severe and last a lifetime, especially if they deal with personal home related issues as well such as parental conflicts, poverty, witnessing alcoholism, separation of parents, or parents being too busy in their own world.
The bullies usually target those who seem to have low self confidence and are kind of loners, who make really few friends, and are average in their overall performance in school or college activities. They know that offending those won’t torment their image but will instead label them as “cool” folks, but the victims as “geeks” or “boring”. If the bullies are boys then chances involve both verbal as well as physical abuse; on the contrary if they are girls verbal abuse is usually followed.
Now the question arises how to stop bullying. First of all the bystanders (those who witness the incidences) must get involved in taking some sort of action like by complaining to school/college authorities or even the police in extreme cases. Jot down the evidences that support your claim through audio/video recording, downloading or taking the snap shots of all those images or chats that were made public with an intention of provoking someone negatively. There are many cases of cyber bullying that includes uploading real or fake picture or video of an individual to social networking sites or emails, that is supposed to be personal, or those texts that are mentally threatening.
The school or college institutions must pay attention to the students’ overall behavior with others. If someone bullies someone else it not only negatively impacts on the victim’s mind but also the bystanders who witness this on daily basis. This results in lack of trusting the surroundings and that affects nearly everyone. Every educational institution and workplace must have a psychiatric counselor who does the professional counseling of those individuals who lose their self worth after a considerable amount of time due to unwelcoming environment they handled so far.
Parents must also involve with their sons and daughters so that they better know if their children were the victims, bystanders or bullies themselves. Since parenting plays an important role in a child’s development it is a must for giving a healthy environment so that these youngsters never struggle in their adulthood later. Parents must communicate with their kids on daily basis as well as their teachers on monthly basis.
As a community member or part of an NGO group, several seminars must be conducted to the schools and colleges to make everyone aware of its seriousness and its long term negative impact that are likely occurring to everyone who is in that surrounding. As a student he/she must be made aware of the fact that they are always supported. For bullies, punishments aren’t the solution but using their spare energy on something positive like event management, sports activities, plus weekly/monthly counseling sessions asking them questions like “Do you hate anybody? Why?”, “Why do you think Miss XYZ is boring or unattractive?”, “Why do you hate XYZ?”, “Did he/she did something wrong to you?”, or “How would you feel if XYZ behaves exactly the same as you did to him/her and why?”. If nothing works and such people never seem to really improve and tend to continue their behavior then suspending or expelling them out seems the only solution.