Even after years of raising awareness, bullying is still all too present in the school ecosystem. This is a concern for both students and parents. Unfortunately, because of how common bullying is in the school system, school can become a place of dread for many students. Since October was National Bullying Prevention Month, we thought it would be important to continue to spread the message for November. For this article we thought we’d share the effects bullying can have on students and tips that parents, students, and teachers can follow to stand against bullying.
Effects of Being Bullied
There are a number of physical and psychological issues that stem from bullying, all of which can cause students lifelong trauma. Those who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, to be anxious, and to perform poorly in school. Bullied students can end up missing assignments, skipping school, or even dropping out of school altogether. Bullying takes the focus away from what is most important for students: education. They stop living and start living with fear. School is supposed to be a place for learning and growth, but bullying can lead to dire consequences. The National Bullying Prevention Center reports that students who face bullying are 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide.
Effects of Bullying
It may surprise you to know that students who bully others also face negative effects in their lives. Those who bully are more likely to adopt unhealthy habits for the rest of their lives. Students who bully are more likely to:
- Abuse substances;
- Engage in sexual activity at an early age;
- Become violent and get into altercations;
- Get in trouble with the law and have criminal convictions;
- Drop out of school; and
- Continue abuse with family members and their significant other
Standing up to bullying not only helps students who are the victims of bullying, but it can also lead to better outcomes for the students who are acting out by bullying others.
Why Do Students Bully?
The reason why students bully can vary, but the most common reason is due to their home life. Every student’s home life is different; some are stable with lots of love and support, and others are not. The latter seems to be a primary cause for a student to become a bully — they just don’t have the love and support they need at home to help them thrive. Sometimes the student isn’t getting the attention they need, or both parents aren’t giving the student the emotional support they need in order to mature and feel secure. Low parental involvement can cause a student to feel ignored or unwanted in their household. For them, bullying other students gives them attention — whether good or bad. Another primary cause of bullying is that it can be a learned behavior. A bully may come from a family where aggression, violence and abuse is the norm. They may witness physical or emotional abuse from other family members and think that this is how people should act. It takes someone with compassion and expertise to help these students cope with and heal from the problems that they have in their personal lives, which can help stop the students’ bullying behaviors.
Bullying can be a complicated problem to tackle in the school system as it is a multi-layered issue. Regardless of how teachers and caregivers deal with bullying, addressing it and being aware of it is important. Below are a few tips that can help teachers, parents, and even students prevent bullying.
Talk About Bullying
First and foremost, caregivers and teachers should teach about bullying and help students better understand bullying behaviors. Teachers can create a lesson on bullying for the class and have an open discussion about it. Caregivers can and should do the same with their own children. It’s crucial for students to be aware of the consequences bullying can lead to with other students and why it shouldn’t be tolerated.
Encourage Students to Speak Out
Teachers and caregivers should encourage their students to speak out when they see bullying. This starts with creating a comfortable environment and trust with their students so they can have more confidence when speaking out. Teachers and caregivers should make sure they express concern, give comfort, and offer advice whenever a student speaks out, regardless of how serious the issue is.
Set an Example
Teachers and caregivers should always aim to set a good example for their students. Children look up to adults as role models and are looking for what is an acceptable way to act and what is not — even if the adults don’t notice. Although we all make mistakes from time to time, it’s important for adults to be conscious of how they behave.
The task of reducing bullying starts with everyone — teachers, school administrators, parents, and students. Everyone has to be aware of bullying and do their best to speak out when they see it. So take a stand against bullying, don’t allow it to happen, don’t sit idly by, and don’t ignore it. When everyone takes a stand, the world will be a better place.
Written By: Irfan Jeddy