The Pervasiveness of Bullying in Our Society
One out of five 12 year old children are bullied or bullies another child. An estimated seven percent of children will bully another child at some point before they graduate. Sadly, oftentimes, the ADHD child is bullied more because of odd behavior or comments.
The myth that bullies often bully because they lack self esteem is a myth, says Jaana Juvonen, UCLA professor of psychology. In fact, Juvonen and her associates have found that most bullies are regarded as “cool kids.” Bullies often revel in the sense of power bullying gives them, and in our society, power is respected more than character.
Bullying used to be limited to the classroom or the park, now we are seeing children and teens bullied via social media and online activities.
Our media, video games, and cultural icons have made ruthless behavior and power over the weak admirable qualities. This is just another way that Christian morals and values have been traded for the lies of the Enemy in our society.
Victims, Bullies and Bystanders
Nine percent of children who are bullied are treated for anxiety or depression as a result of their victimization at the hands of their peers. Twelve of the fifteen most violent school shootings in America are attributed to bullying.
Victims of bullying often isolate themselves and blame themselves for being bullied. This, along with threats of retaliation from the bully, prevents them from seeking help. Children who are bullied often lose interest in school work, hobbies and friends. They suffer with depression and anxiety that can manifest itself in physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches. Those that see no way out of the situation will turn to suicide or violence toward others.
Bullies thrive on power and manipulate to satisfy their desires. They often suffer from addictions and are statistically more likely to commit crimes as adults. If the pattern of abusive behavior doesn’t stop, bullies will often abuse their spouses and children. The illusion of power and the desire to dominate becomes an obsession, and lines between what is appropriate behavior and not become blurred.
Bystanders also suffer the effects of bullying. Bystanders fall into two categories: those who feel guilt for not standing up for the victim and those who decide to participate in the bullying. Needless to say, either end of the spectrum has the potential to drastically affect the child’s behavior.
How can we prevent bullying in a culture that idolized power? Here are a few ways parents can prevent their child from being a victim or bullying other children:
- Biblical morals and values need to be instilled in our children from a young age. Bullying is completely contrary from the teachings of the Bible, but unless we hide those truths in our children’s hearts, they will lack the moral compass that will help them choose not to bully others.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your children. Bullying isolates the victim and the bully. Make sure you have your finger on the pulse of your child’s heart and address any issues you notice.
- Get your child into an active sports program with a dedicated coach who understands discipline and encouraging good behavior. Studies have shown that children that participate in karate classes actually have lower incidents of violence than other children.