Keep Your Head Up

In recent posts, I’ve talked about the bully, the effects of bullying, the types of bullying, and how to handle the situation if you think someone you know is a bully or a victim of bullying. Now, I’d like to talk personally to the victims of bullying. I’ve been there. I know it hurts. But, there are ways to handle a bully and ways to boost your self-esteem.

Here are some tips for handling a bully. First, tell an adult you trust. If you are at school when you are being bullied, tell a teacher.The adult  can help you with trying to get the bully to stop bullying.

During the act of getting bullied,  try to stay calm. Try to respond to the bully without any anger or feeling upset. You can try to ask the bully to stop or try to ask them why they are bullying you. Another option would be to simply remove yourself from the situation. If possible, go somewhere else and just ignore the bully.

Another thing to boost your self-esteem is to find activities you love and do it. If you’re into sports, join a team. If you like to dance, see if you can take up dance classes. If you are doing something you love, it’s likely that you will in improve and you’ll continue to feel better and better about yourself. Also, you’ll meet people who have similar interests to you and you make a ton of friends.Surrounding yourself with people who care about you and will stick by your side are the biggest support you have other than family.

Finally, just never be afraid to speak up. It’s never your fault that you are a victim.

How to Tell and What You Can Do to Help

Often times people ignore bullying when they see it; he or she chooses to become just a bystander of the situation rather than address it. Today, I want to encourage you to address it. Some of you may think that addressing a bully might not be the safest or wisest idea but speaking up can help the victim and I’m going to tell you proper ways you can go about it.

Here are some signs that could indicate that someone you know is being bullied:

*These are just some of the possible signs.*

If you know someone is being bullied, there are various things you can do. If there has been a crime or someone is at immediate risk of harm, the best thing to do is call 911. If the victim is expressing behaviors like hopelessness or sadness, try to talk to them about why they feel that way and if you believe that person is thinking of committing suicide contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or find a local counselor or other mental health services.  If you believe that someone you know is being bullied in school, let school officials know including their teacher, school counselor, school principal, school superintendent, and the State Department of Education. Letting school officials know will allow them to help. They can keep an eye on the child, take percussion to prevent any further bullying and reprimand any bullying they see.

There also  various signs that show that someone may be bullying others. Here are some of the signs:

*These are just some of the possible signs.*

Depending on where the bullying is taking place, there are different ways to handle a bully. Just as with the victim, I believe one of the easiest things you can do is talk to the bully. Find out why they think it’s acceptable behavior and ask them how would they feel if it were done to them. After talking to them, they may have a different perspective on bullying. However, if the bullying is done on school property, telling a faculty member is the first thing to do so that the school can follow the procedures it has in place for handling bullying.

As you can see, just talking to a bully or a victim can help. Some people chose to simply be a bystander for various reasons ranging from not wanting to get anyone in trouble to not wanting the bully to turn and bully them. However, I encourage everyone to not be a bystander. Speak up and do something to help.

Works Cited:

“Get Help Now | StopBullying.gov.” Home | StopBullying.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <http://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html>.

“How do you know if your child is being bullied?.” Kids and Media – How to guide and guard your child in a digital world. N.p., 3 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <http://www.kidsandmedia.co.uk/how-do-you-know-if-your-child-is-being-bullied/>.

“Warning Signs | StopBullying.gov.” Home | StopBullying.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013. <http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html>.

Understanding the Bully Part 2

According to Gwen Dewar, instead of grouping all bullies into one category researchers now identify bullies with  two different types of bullies,  “pure bullies” and “bully-victims”.

“The pure bullies are the confident aggressors. They dish out intimidation and harassment. In general, they don’t get victimized by other bullies.”

Many studies have shown that these “pure bullies” typically have a higher self-esteem than others. It has been shown that “pure bullies were more likely to agree with such statements as “I do most things right.” They were least likely to agree with statements like “I worry about what others think.” They were also the least likely to agree with statements that indicated loneliness or social anxiety (e.g., “I have nobody to talk to” and “I worry about what others will think of me”).”

Pure bullies are typically social children and are usually average or above-average in academics. The study, Cross-national consistency in the relationship between bullying behaviors and psychosocial adjustment, states that bullies are  more likely to show poor “school adjustment”. However, this study did not  “include any objective measurements of academic achievement” (Dewar). Sarah Woods and Dieter Wolke in Direct and Relational Bullying Among Primary Schoolchildren and Academic Achievement looked at “the association between bullying behaviour and academic achievement in 1016 children from primary schools.”      Major findings of their study included:

“(1.) There was a higher incidence of direct bullying behavior among primary school children compared to relational bullying.

(2.) No association between direct bullying and academic achievement was uncovered at year 2. However, relational ‘pure’ bullies in year 4 had significantly higher SATs TR and SATs TA at year 2 compared to victims and neutral children.

(3.) Important predictors of academic achievement for year 2 children were relational victimization, SEN, rural schools, small classes, and low socioeconomic status (SES).

(4.) Important predictors of involvement in bullying behavior in year 4 were small classes, behavior
problems, rural schools, being male, having average/above average achievement, small schools,
and emotional health problems.”

As you see, pure bullies do not necessarily struggle in school are sometimes the popular kids.

Bully-victims are bullies who are also victims of bullies (if the name didn’t already give that away). Some of the effects of being a bully-victim are almost completely opposite of those of a pure bully.

Several studies have shown that bully-victims are at greater risk of having emotional problems just as people who are just victims are. These emotional problems include “anxiety, depression, psychosis, substance abuse, and anti-social personality disorder.”

According to Social Behavior and Peer Relationships of Victims, Bully-Victims, and Bullies in Kindergarten, the “physical aggressiveness [of bully-victims] combined with their poor emotional and behavioral regulation, presents a risk for their becoming victimized.” Some children find bully-victims “unpredictable and disturbing”. The study also found that the bully-victims are “less cooperative and pro-social than others.”

As you can see not all bullies are the same and some are even bullied themselves. Each type of bully faces effects of being a bully or being bullied. In my next couple of  blogs, I’ll let you know how to detect if someone you know is a bully or being bullied  and how you can address the situation.

Works Cited:

Dewar, Gwen. “Bully-victims: Bullies who get bullied by others.” Parenting Science – The science of child-rearing and child development. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013. <http://www.parentingscience.com/bully-victims.html>.

Dewar, Gwen. “Pure bullies: Cool, confident, and socially-adept.” Parenting Science – The science of child-rearing and child development. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013. <http://www.parentingscience.com/pure-bullies.html>.

Direct and relational bullying among primary school children and academic achievement Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 2. (2004), pp. 135-155, doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2003.12.002 by S. Woods, D. Wolke

Understand the Bully Part 1

When thinking about bullying, generally people focus on the person being bullied and why they shouldn’t be bullied. I believe that if we focused just as much time on the bully and their reasoning for bullying that maybe we, as in society, can help prevent bullying in a more productive manner. When looking at the bully, we can focus on reasons children bully, factors that cause children to bully, and how bullying can effect the bully’s life. However, when examining the bully, we have to be careful not to just jump on the bandwagon of many of the myths that are out there.

One of the first myths that I think of when I think of bullies is that bullies bully because they have low-self esteem. “In reality, researchers have found that kids who bully others often have average or even above-average levels of self-esteem. Bullies often have good leadership skills, have an easy time making friends, and therefore have large friendship networks”

Often times bullies bully to keep the friends that they have. The popular crowd will find children who are considered unpopular and make fun of them. Even though I was bullied as a child and didn’t like it, I can recall times where I bullied as well. I bullied people that my friends were bullying. It made me feel part of the group.

According to a study, Moral Emotions and Bullying: A Cross-National Comparison of Differences Between Victims, Bullies, and Outsiders, bullies often time feel pride or indifference when asked about how they feel about bullying. Bullies often times feel pride because they are satisfied with themselves. They usually gain acceptance from other children and are not considering the feelings of the victims. Indifference “can reveal the absence of empathic feelings towards victims and the need to deactivate moral controls in a context of rule violation.”

There is also the possibility that bullies could be a victim of “neurological deficit [which is] a brain malfunction that prevents them from feeling or caring about the pain of others” (Dewar, Gwen). Another option is that bullies partake in “moral disengagement [which] is the process by which people convince themselves that bad behavior is morally acceptable” (Dewar, Gwen). Some of the mechanisms of moral disengagement that bullies use include:

 • Blaming or/and dehumanizing the victim

• Displacing or diffusing responsibility (e.g., “He made me do it”)

• Euphemistic labeling, (e.g., “Just a bit of fun”)

• Exonerative comparison (e.g., “What I did isn’t as bad as what others have done”)

As you can see, there are various different reasons that bullies could be bullying. I have just named a few. In my next posts, I will go in more detail on bullies,  how to detect in your child is a bully or a victim, and how to handle the situation.

Works Cited:

Dewar, Gwen . “Machiavellian kids? Bullies, empathy, and moral reasoning.” Parenting Science – The science of child-rearing and child development. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. <http://www.parentingscience.com/bullies-and-moral-reasoning.html>.

Menesini, E., Sanchez, V., Fonzi, A., Ortega, R., Costabile, A. and Lo Feudo, G. (2003), Moral emotions and bullying: A cross-national comparison of differences between bullies, victims and outsiders. Aggr. Behav., 29: 515–530. doi: 10.1002/ab.10060

Sognonvi , Sensei , and Carmen Sognonvi. “Why Do Bullies Bully? The Top 5 Reasons Why People Bully Others .” Urban Martial Arts . N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2013. <urbandojo.com/2010/06/16/bullying-reasons-why-do-people-bully-others-why-do-bullies-bully/>.

 

 

 

 

Bullying Does More Than You Think

In my first post, I touched on the fact that victims of bullying experience effects later on. While it has been found that not everyone experience these effects, most do.

According to the Long-term Effects of Bullying: Exploring the Relationships Among Recalled Experiences with Bullying, Current Coping Resources, and Reported Symptoms of Distress, “Retrospective studies of college students who experienced bullying during childhood and/or adolescence were more likely than non-bullied peers to experience depression (Roth et al. 2002; Storch et al., 2001), anxiety disorders (McCabe, et al., 2003; Roth, Cole, &Heimburg) and problems in interpersonal relationships (Ledley et al, 2006; Schafer et al., 2004).” Other effects could be body dissatisfaction and eating disturbance.

Anxiety and depression are seen as both immediate effects of bullying and long-term effects of bullying. Initially, victims of bullying typically have “lower levels of social acceptance and social competence”.  Studies also suggest that victims experience similar effects later on in adulthood. When victims experience things such as name-calling over a period of time, they eventually tend to believe that they are dumb, ugly, a wimp, or whatever the bullying is telling them which takes a hit at their self-esteem. They may also start to feel hopelessness if they aren’t able to stop the bully from victimizing them which can contribute to anxiety or depression.

There are many factors that contribute to the effects of bullying including Frequency, duration, and timing of bullying. As frequency and duration of bullying increase, the symptoms of distress during adulthood also increases. Increased frequency has also been found “to be negatively correlated with trust in relationships and satisfaction with quality of friendships among college students.” As far the age of being bullied, it was “found that young adults who recalled only being bullied during secondary school were more likely to have a fearful attachment style and reported lower self-esteem in relationships than individuals who recalled only being bullied during primary school years.”

As you can see, bullying does more than maybe hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel uncomfortable at the time. It can have long-term effects that hinder them later on in life. It can make people feel alone, have low self-esteem to the point of depression, and lack trust in interpersonal relationships.

Works Cited:

Chambless , Courtney B. “Long-Term Effects of Bullying: Exploring the Relationships among Recalled Experiences with Bullying, Current Coping Resources, and Reported Symptoms of Distress.” Counseling and Psychological Dissertations , 2010. Web.

Roth, D. A., Coles, M. E., & Heimburg, R. G. (2000, July 13). The Relationship between Memories of Childhood Teasing and Anxiety and Depression in Adulthood. Retrieved from http://www.temple.edu/phobia/int/Publications/2002/199- Roth et al Teasing J anxiety disorders 2002.pdf

So Many Types: ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That’

While we may not have time for that or should I say want this, more types, than most probably wish, do exist of bullying. Generally, people tend of think of shoving, hitting or some kind of physical harm when they think of bullying or they may think of calling people names. While those are both predominant forms of bullying, they are far from the only ones.

The types of bullying can be divided up between direct and indirect forms. Direct forms are face to face. The person being bullyed see’s who’s bullying them and knows exactly what they are doing.

Example: 5-year-old Jim pulls Cindy pigtails and tells her that they look stupid. Cindy is aware that Jim is the one bullying her and that he did those actions.

Indirect forms take place behind the victims back which in some cases leave them not knowing exactly what is going on. Indirect forms are also less recognizable by adults.

Example: 13-year-old Mary sits alone at lunch because someone has started spreading a rumor that she doesn’t bath and now everyone is avoiding her. Mary does not know who started the rumor just that someone did.

Several types of bullying fall into these two forms of bullying including but not limited to physical, verbal, social, emotional, sexual, and cyber-bullying.

Physical (Direct): This is one of the two types that I mentioned earlier that most know of and have witnessed. Actions that fall under physical include hitting, biting, hair pulling, pushing, shoving, pinching, and any other behavior that can cause physical harm to its victim. According to Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment, their study found that this form of bullying is generally seen among males more often than among females. Their study also states that there is a power imbalance among the victim and the bully where the victim is typically unable to defend him or herself against the bully. Also, there is typically repetition when it comes to physical bullying.

Verbal (Direct or Indirect): Verbal bullying included name-calling, insults, teasing, put-downs, and gossip. This can be done directly to the person or behind their back. Therefore, depending how its executed by the bully that it can be either direct or indirect. In Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment, it was found that females are more often victims of verbal abuse than males are. According to An Integrated Review of Indirect, Rational, and Social Aggression, not only is it more common among females but that females take more offense to verbal abuse than males. This study shows that females typically care more about their social status than males therefore making verbal abuse worse than physical abuse for females.

Cyber-bullying: Cyber-bullying has become the most recent form of bullying with networking and social media taking negative turns for some. This takes place across the web in places like chat rooms, instant messages, social media sites like Facebook, gaming sites, and digital messages in cell phones. Within these places, it can take several forms such as flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, outing and trickery, exclusion and ostracism, cyber-stalking, and happy slapping. The two main problems that make cyber-bullying so bad are similar to the same reasons to why you don’t want an embarrassing video of you on YouTube. One: it probably will never be taken off the internet. Two: it will spread like wildfire. Once something is out onto the internet, you can’t control it. Someone will see it and they will share it with someone else then that person will share it. It’s a never ending cycle. Therefore, cyber-bullying can be repeated several times causing the person to be victimized by more and more people as the act goes on.

As you can see, there are various types of bullying. There’s not just one type to look out for but several types and there are more than the ones I’ve mentioned.  Many things can be classified as bullying leaving its victims feeling victimized or alone.

Works Cited:

“An Integrated Review of Indirect, Relational, and Social Aggression.” Personality and Social Psychology Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013.

Hines, Heather. ” TRADITIONAL BULLYING AND CYBER-BULLYING: ARE THE IMPACTS ON SELF-CONCEPT THE SAME?” Web. 15 Feb. 2013. <http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/wcu/f/Hines2011.pdf>.

Portland State University | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. <http://www.pdx.edu/sites/www.pdx.edu.coun/files/media_assets/sca_point_min.pdf>.

“As Cruel as School Children”

“As Cruel as School Children” is the 2006 released album by Gym Class Heroes. As Cruel as School Children. Think about it. Bill Cosby years ago made bucks off of relying on the craziest things that children would say to him on Kids Say the Darnedest Thing. The show worked because most children aren’t afraid to say anything they think and unfortunately this includes insults.

Bullies have been part of the schoolyard since well, probably the beginning of schools. According to the National Center for Education Statics “In 2009, about 28 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year. Students’ reports of being bullied at school varied by student and school characteristics. In 2009, a higher percentage of females (20 percent) than males (13 percent) ages 12–18 reported being the subject of rumors, while a lower percentage of females (8 percent) than males (10 percent) reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on. In addition, a higher percentage of females (6 percent) than males (4 percent) also reported being excluded from activities on purpose.”

This statistic points out that there are various different types of bullying in schools from rumors to shoving. Females are generally the victims of rumors and gossip rather than physical bullying. I believe that this has to do with what Communication Scholar Julia Wood says about communication among females vs. men. According to Wood, females communicate more by talking while men communicate more by doing. While bullying is a negative form of communication, it’s still a form of communication.

When dealing with bullying in school, most schools have a code set aside for bullying in their Code of Conduct.In Farmville,  Prince Edward Public Schools Code of Conduct states “A student, either individually or as a part of a group, shall not harass or bully others. Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to, physical intimidation, taunting, name-calling, and insults and any combination of prohibited activities. Prohibited conduct includes verbal conduct consisting of comments regarding the race, gender, religion, physical abilities or characteristics or associates of the targeted person.” This is then followed by the repercussions that are supposed to be brought onto bullies.

While these repercussions exist, I have personally seen incidents and been involved in incidents where the school did not get involved until a physical altercation broke lose. Back in September, WSET reported on a similar incident at Halifax County High School. WSET reports of two honor roll students who were bullied by other students. The bullying was reported to faculty but the bullies did not get in trouble. Eventually, a fight broke lose between the honor roll students and the bullies leaving all four suspended. I believe that incidents like those show that having rules and repercussions are not necessarily enough.

I think that all schools should have a bullying program that informs all of the students about what bullying is and why it is wrong. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
(OBPP)
is a program that is being adopted across schools in Virginia. This program is designed for students age 5 to 15. According to violencepreventionworks.org, this program has been successful so far in dropping bullying rates.

I believe that another idea that would work is to simply talk among students. Find students who are and aren’t being bullied, put them in a classroom with an adult supervisor, and see what kind of program that they can design for the school. The students are the main ones that see what kind of bullying goes on in their school so I believe they are the best ones to decide how to prevent it. So, if you go to a school where you aren’t talking about bullying and how it’s not okay stand up and say something.

Bullying was a problem for me and probably for you too.

“Ha! She looks like Scarface. Look at her eye.” “What is she wearing?” “Who cut her bangs like that; what were they thinking?”

These lines are only a few that my ears have unfortunately heard in the past. They were sometimes directly told to me and others were overheard. I graduated my 6th grade class with no friends because the few friends that I did have turned on me and decided that bullying was the next step. I can’t even describe how sad I was every day when I stepped into that elementary school not knowing what kind of insult I’d hear that day. I hated stepping into that school knowing that I was going to be eating lunch alone yet again. I hated stepping into that school just knowing that I was alone.

Bullying makes you feel alone; it destroys you. Whoever created “sticks and stones will hurt my bones but words will never hurt me” were doing a good thing trying to convince us that we’re better than the words that are thrown at us. These words that are thrown as are not true representations of who we are but nonsense tossed out of bitter mouths. But, this phrase is so wrong in the literal sense. Over the years, words have been used to hurt me worse than any beating could have ever done. However, this phrase is supposed to boast us. It’s supposed to help us.

When I think about bullying, I get disgusted. My skin became thicker with time and a best friend by my side that unfortunately didn’t attend my elementary school. But, I feel that this took too much time and the bullying never stopped. To this day, I have to change the names of my social media accounts so that hurtful people can’t track me down just to attack me. It hurts but it doesn’t destroy me anymore. I plan to stand up to not just help those who are being bullied but to help everyone understand why bullying isn’t cool. It’s not just a problem for children but for everyone.