Bullying is one of the most critical issues affecting the development of teens. The main challenge with bullying is that it is a social phenomenon, and, just like any other social development, it affects the ability of people to integrate into their social group as well as their performance in different aspects of interactions. The effects of bullying are usually long-term. Therefore, obtaining a better understanding of bullying is essential for supporting children.
To be specific, the interest in this topic is motivated by the fact that I have three young children. For this reason, the research is driven by the desire to know how to help my children once they enter their preteen and teen developmental stages and in cases they face the challenges connected to bullying. More than that, the study is motivated by the desire to find out how bullying could potentially affect them as students.
Exploration of the Investigated Issue
Bullying is an intentionally aggressive behavior and the temporary abuse of power by peers. This power imbalance and abuse are commonly demonstrated through an intentional harm-doing to peers. In most cases, it is a repeated action. One of the main issues connected to bullying is that it can be either mental or physical. In the first case, a bully – a person bullying a peer – offends their victim verbally. Some common examples of mental bullying are calling names. On the other hand, more severe forms of bullying include physical abuse, such as hitting. Finally, except for these two kinds of bullying, there is as well a concept known as indirect bullying. Its main specific feature is the avoidance of direct contact with a victim. Instead, the preference is given to spreading rumors or motivating the social group to exclude the victim from it by ignoring their presence or words, thus fostering the isolation of the victim (Wolke & Lereya, 2015). With the active expansion of the newest technologies and the Internet into everyday life and activities, one more kind of bullying emerged – cyber bullying. It is determined by shifting the aggressive intentions towards bullying into the virtual dimension (Adler-Tapia & Settle, 2017). However, the challenge is that it is associated with the higher risks of negative consequences of bullying due to the fact that people tend to support similar intentions in social networks.
Regardless of the type of bullying chosen for demonstrating one’s domination, the effects of bullying are always critical. The major concern is that they are long-term, which means that all life choices are later influenced by the experience of bullying. One of the most common effects of bullying is the influence on students. In this case, the concept of being a student can be perceived from two perspectives – academic performance and integration into a classroom. The second determinant is pointed to because the preteen and teen developmental stages are characterized by learning to properly integrate into the social group. Therefore, it is as well an aspect of studying. Returning to the effects of bullying on teens, all of them are emotional in their nature. The common examples are avoiding social interactions, self-isolation intentions, poor academic performance due to the loss of interest in studying, and the impaired elaboration of skills necessary for acquiring new knowledge (Werf, 2014). All in all, the effects of bullying come down not only to becoming a worse student but also impairing the learning and social interaction skills, which, eventually, affect the integration into social groups.
Current Approaches to the Issue
There are different approaches to bullying. The most common ones were mentioned above when the types of bullying were determined. Nevertheless, there are other relates approaches to consider. For instance, it is perceived as a human right issue. The rationale behind developing this approach to bullying is the fact that it is directly associated with the violation of fundamental human rights, such as the right to being treated with respect and dignity or the right to equal treatment. Another common approach to bullying is identifying it as a public controversy. The challenge of the power imbalance has always been critical, especially in view of the Darwinism theory. In other words, bullying is seen as a manifestation of Darwin’s theory because it is directly associated with the relations between the weak and the strong people. Finally, bullying is commonly determined as a public health issue. The rational behind this approach is the fact that it both derives from mental issues and results in mental issues (Rigby, 2012). Putting it simply, no person is born as a bully. Instead, it is their social environment that turns them into a bully. As a result, they impose a negative emotional impact on their victims, which is as well a mental problem.
Treatment Modalities and Interventions
Due to the criticality of the consequences of bullying, different interventions were developed for altering bullying-related behaviors as well as diminishing the severity of its effects. The interventions focus on both bullies and their victims. For instance, the most popular one – strengthening the victim so that they could emotionally oppose the bully – focuses on victims. On the other hand, the traditional disciplinary approach is based on punishing the bully. Finally, there are approaches aimed at reducing the impact of bullying and the interest of bullies in the power demonstration intentions. They are known as interventions based on restorative justice, mediation, group support, and shared concern (Rigby, 2012). Although all them differ in effectiveness, the overall contribution to reducing the severity of bullying effects is positive.
Reflection on the Materials and Applying Research to the Real-Life Experiences
All in all, the impact of bullying on people in preteen and teen developmental stages is crucial. Nevertheless, understanding the underlying causes of bullying and its effects might be valuable for helping children cope with the issues. The most appropriate application of the obtained knowledge to real-world experiences is to enhance parent-children communication by demonstrating concern with the problem and the desire to cope with it. In this case, it is vital to say that parents are the firstly met agents of socialization so that they impact the effectiveness of kids’ communication with peers and their ability to avoid being bullied by developing appropriate social integration and behavioral patterns, such as self-confidence, that are vital for minimizing the risks of being bullied.
- Adler-Tapia, R., & Settle, C. (2017). EMDR and the art of psychotherapy with children: Infants to adolescents (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.
- Rigby, K. (2012). Bullying interventions in schools: Six basic approaches. West Sussex, England: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Werf, C. (2014). The effects of bullying on academic achievement. Dessarollo y Sociedad, 74(1), 275-308.
- Wolke, D., & Lereya, S. T. (2015). Long-term effects of bullying. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 100(9), 879-885. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2014-306667