Bullying is described as violent behavior whereby someone causes discomfort or injury to another deliberately. Studies reveal that almost everybody has experienced bullying. The behavior is common everywhere, especially at home, school and workplace. Bullying has a detrimental effect on human development hence making it a critical issue of study in the subject. It is necessary to point out that bullying corrupts the normal brain development process among children. For instance, “parents or caregivers, who are not emotionally present for their children, expose them to relational bullying” (WBI, 2010). This hampers children and teens from developing a moral intellect. The behavior affects normal childhood development negatively, because the process requires non-stressed and emotionally stable minds. Just like physical abuse, verbal abuse is psychologically disturbing, and it impedes cellular replication, a process that keeps people young. The impacts of bullying on human development cannot be overemphasized; it is an area that calls for attention to ensure positive growth and development (Juvonen, Graham & Schuster, 2012).
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There are three types of bullying mainly encountered by children including verbal, physical and relational. Verbal bullying is the simplest way of conducting bullying, and it entails cruel criticism, name calling, racist slurs and teasing among others. The act is particularly hurtful to the victim and may start in the early stages of human development. Some parents and children are fond of abusing others notwithstanding the age. Studies reveal that verbal bullying may devastate a child even though many perceive it as unthreatening. Bullies may interfere with the emotional health of a child depending on the words they use (Rivers & Smith, 1994).
Physical bullying is the use of force towards a victim, and it entails acts such as slapping, choking, hitting, hitting, and kicking among others. This is particularly done by bigger students who have size advantages over the small ones. Physical bullying causes injuries sometimes. Parents also inflict injuries on children, which may seem normal, and in some cases, it may be unrealized. As stated by Rivers & Smith (1994), physical bullying affects physical health and is exceedingly dangerous as it causes pain and suffering among victims.
Rational bullying is more of emotional draining than physical pain and injuries. This bullying acts such as shunning, isolating, ignoring, and excluding. Some students may avoid hanging around others as a way of punishing them. The victims may be psychologically affected because of being rejected by friends. On the other hand, parents who do not spend time with their children expose them to rational bullying which affects childhood development negatively (WBI, 2010).
Even though there are three main types of bullying as described above, technology has created another form referred to as cyber bullying. This is a new phenomenon, and it may not be familiar to some parents hence they do not know how to deal with it. Cyber bullying entails attacks and threats through phone calls, social networks, text messages and instant messages mainly by using computers. Researchers have concluded that cyber bullying is a difficult behavior to determine and may be particularly intimidating to a child (Gillespie, 2012).
According to various researches, gender and sexual orientation play a significant role in bullying behavior. For instance, females are more bullied at home, school and workplaces among other places than males. On the other hand, gays, bisexuals and lesbians are more bullied than straight people due to their sexual orientation. They are mainly discriminated and physically or verbally abused by many people who feel that they their actions are against religious and societal views. Prejudice against gays, lesbians and bisexuals increased in the 20th century (Rivers & Smith, 1994).
Studies on public opinions conducted in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s revealed that many lesbians, gays and bisexuals were the targets of negative attitudes. Even though there are many campaigns against sexual orientation bullying, hostility towards gay, bisexuals and lesbians is a remarkably common act. Sexual orientation bullying may take different forms, but verbal bullying remains the most common aggression faced by lesbians, gay and bisexuals.
Children who are bullied regularly eventually develop low self esteem (Rivers & Smith, 1994). A child loses self-confidence when bullied verbally or physically. If they have some weaknesses, the effect is exceedingly disastrous as it makes children hate themselves (Gillespie, 2012). For instance, if children are disliked and bullied due to their weight, they will develop self-hate. At this point, a parent needs to talk to the child and provide protection against bullying and its effects. This will help the child to understand that everyone is different, and they need to be proud of this uniqueness. Researchers state that low self-esteem may lead to depression and isolation of a child other than making them less social (Lamb & Craig, 2009).
It is necessary to mention that bullying does not affect only the person directly offended but also the whole family. It is clear that bullying victims take their frustrations to their families. Lamb & Craig (2009) assert that this may lead to poor relations between the victim and other family members. Parents may be unaware of the magnitude of bullying in their children’s lives hence making it hard to understand what is happening. This is because many children hate discussing this topic, especially if they are victims. In addition, parents do not initiate such as a discussion to establish if their children are affected. This may lead to poor relation between children and their parent due to lack of understanding.
In conclusion, bullying has serious effects on a child’s growth and development. With increased understanding and awareness of bullying as a health issue, a parent is supposed to be a good listener and observer of the child. Parent and teachers should provide the support required and cultivate healthy relationships among all children. This will help in good family ties and interactions (Juvonen, Graham& Schuster, 2012). It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to assist a child in gaining a sense of dignity and improve lowered self-esteem. Children should be advised to avoid revenge when bullied but report it to the authority. Acting quickly in dealing with bullying is necessary. Additionally, parents, care givers and teachers should offer proper approaches to handle the behavior in order to minimize its effects and make a child happy.
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