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May 4th, 2013

Bullying – Recognize the Signs

Bullying can begin at a young age, frequently affecting loved ones and peers. It is often thought that youth cruelty is a “normal” part of a growing up and that “everyone goes through it.” The reality is that bullying is characterized by an imbalance of power, unwanted aggressive behavior, or intention to harm, and is carried out repeatedly over time. A target can be victimized by an individual (or group of peers) who intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon the victim through physical contact, words, body language, social exclusion, or other means.

The classic schoolyard bully has always been there. But now, bullying is beefed up electronically; anonymous cyber-bullying is also a possibility. Adolescents and even small children communicate through social media and texting; this provides a 24/7 opportunity to do damage to one another. Kids and teenagers who have experienced victimization by this type of inescapable exposure, report an overwhelming sense of helplessness and isolation. One sensitive bystander or group of independent observers can have the most control over the dynamics involved in bullying. When a community takes a stand, deciding to be a positive influence with no tolerance for bullying, there is a drastic drop in bullying cases.

  • Target (Victim)
  • Comes home hurt and/or with damaged or missing belongings
  • Has trouble sleeping or begins sleeping all the time
  • Shows a sudden change in eating habits
  • Avoids certain places, school, or other activities with peers
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious, or depressed when they come home
  • Feels helpless and/or talks about suicide
  • Experiences a loss of friends or loss of interest in peer groups
  • Bully
  • Becomes violent with and/or frequently blames others
  • Frequently involved in physical or verbal fights with others
  • Commonly sent to the Principal’s office or detention
  • Suddenly has extra money or new belongings
  • Has friends that bully others
  • Is overly competitive
  • Exhibits low or hyper self-esteem

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