“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” ~ Harvey Fierstein
A victim of bullying never wakes up with a desire to be bullied; a yearning to be disparaged; or a longing to be humiliated, belittled or trivialized. Recent research has shown that children who are bullied have a greater probability of seeking out addictive substances, alcohol, and a number of other addictive habits. Moreover, bullied children have greater likelihood of at-risk behaviors, depressive features, suicidal ideation, and delinquency. “(While) the specific rate of bullying victimization and perpetration varies according to age, type of bullying, time period over which bullying behaviors are assessed, and by subgroup. Younger (middle school-aged) children are more likely to be involved in bullying than high school-aged children.” (Hertz, et. al., 2013)
Bullying has a significant effect upon the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of the individual. The longitudinal effects of bullying can last a lifetime. “A new study shows how our bodies react in similar ways to the stress of bullying as they do to an infection.” The seriousness of bullying leaves an emotional and psychological imprint upon the psyche of the individual. Thus, leaving many children with feelings of hopelessness, despair, distrust, anguish and melancholy.
The ramifications of bullying does not always occur face-to-face, nor does bullying only occur to those who are “fameless” or nameless. In 2014, Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin William’s felt compelled to step away from social media because of cyber-social-bullying stemming from her father’s untimely departure. Fortunately, following her brief hiatus, Zelda returned to the social media scene with a desire to denounce the cyber-bullies.
PARENTS’ AND CAREGIVERS ROLES IN BULLYING PREVENTION
What can parents and caregivers do to help prevent or redirect the effects of bullying? As parents and caregivers, consider the following questions when discussing bullying with your children:
- Have you taught your child the value of self-approval and self-acceptance?
As parents, we must teach our child to look at the overall purpose and intent of their precious lives?
- Have you taught your child not to rely upon others for admiration, acceptance and approval?
- Have you taught your child to have an ingrained attitude of approval, acceptance, and self-worth?
- Have you taught your child to look beyond the projected words or deeds of others?
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
PREVENTING BULLYING 101
- Be an informed parent or caregiver
- Be an active participant of your child’s life (discuss school, peers, and activities).
- Always make your familial environment a safe and inviting place.
- Always allow for healthy and open communication
- Actively listen, even if you disagree, promote healthy conversations
- Avoid jokes that are at the emotional expense of your child or others
- Teach your children not to be a bystander. Encourage them to advocate for others.
- Prevent an atmosphere of bullying within your own home! (E.g. physical
assaults or discipline, yelling, belittling, trivializing, minimizing, downgrading, sneering, or running down your child or others).
- Be certain to have conversations about bullying.
- Schools and administrators should be encouraged to support comprehensive bully prevention programs.
- Be aware of children who may be bullied within their home. Inform the proper authority.
- As a parent or caregiver, be a facilitator of kindness, acceptance, and respect.
- Always, always, always be a positive example, role model, and advocate of your child.
While there are a number of reasons and causations for the development of addictive behaviors; preventing or curtailing bullying behaviors may prevent someone from becoming an addict.
May you begin living beyond.
Author: Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., D.N.C.C.M., F.A.A.E.T.S. Website: www.asadonbrown.com
References Provided Upon Request