Mental health, Teen Space

Bullying – what it does

Bullying is a form of harassment and abuse. This outward expression of rage is seen most commonly among children of school going age.
The children who are bullied show effects such as health complications, depression, anxiety, feelings of sadness and loneliness. Their sleep and eating patterns might change. Further, they may lose interest in activities they earlier used to enjoy, experience strong social withdrawal and deter from developing friendships. Bedwetting is also commonly seen in children who get bullied.  They also tend to have low self esteem. Unexplained injuries on a child’s body, frequent complaints of sickness so as to miss school are almost sure signs that a child is being bullied. Children who get bullied often show a sudden, unexplained dip in academic performance.  A reduced interest in academic and extracurricular activities hints at a more overwhelming thought occupying the mind space of the child. Depression, anxiety and hopelessness may be the long lasting effects of bullying. Also, the apathy these children sometimes develop towards certain activities may last well into adulthood. They often stop seeing the need to make an effort to do things. The anger they have experienced from their helplessness may also be directed wrongly by them to take on a destructive nature.
While children who are bullied experience the above possible effects, the children who bully show a plethora of effects of being the bully themselves. They are more likely to develop an alcohol or drug abuse problem as they grow up and they are also very much susceptible to psychological disorders. They will grow up not learning to process their emotions well due to which they might have no control over their anger. Because of this, they often turn abusive towards their romantic partners, spouse or children later on in life. Kids who bully other kids are also most likely to drop out of school; they also get into trouble more often for vandalism, getting into fights and other such problematic behaviour. Growing up, bullies may have troubled relationships and as adults, they may commit crimes.
Children who grow up being bullies are thus as much at the risk of having a trouble life as the ones who get bullied do. Schools should thus have anti-bullying policies in place and parents too, must educate children about these issues. Children who do get bullied must be made to understand that it is not their fault and that they are entitled to a lot of love and support.

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