Clark State Community College
Bullying is an ongoing problem that affects many children in grades kindergarten through high school. Boyd (2014) states, “Although scholars have examined different aspects of youth-related meanness and cruelty over the past four decades, there is no universal definition of bullying” (p.131). However, according to stopbullying.gov, bullying is defined as follows: “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making treats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose”. (“What is Bullying,” n.d.). The act of bullying is nothing new. It has been around for ages, often overlooked as a rite of passage. The viewpoint that everyone goes through it as some point and it makes them a stronger person, is damning. Treating bullying as an accepted part of childhood, has only aided in the continued rise of bullying among children and teens.
“1 in 7 students in grades k-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying” (“Facts and Statistics,” 2009).Who is a bully? A bully is someone who repeatedly performs acts of verbal or physical aggression intended to hurt another person. What characteristics and behaviors might someone who bullies others have? According to Mishna (2012), “Children cannot so readily be laced into a category such as “the bully” or “the victim’”. However, there are some general characteristics and behaviors that children who bully may exhibit. Children that bully may have experienced and witnessed bullying in their own home among siblings or parents, or may be bullied by other students at school. Lack of support and closeness from family and friends, can lead to a child acting out. Children who are bullied can sometimes take that anger and aggression and lash out at peers to gain attention from others. Bullies may be physically strong, defiant, exhibit aggressive behavior, and could have difficulty following rules. Often bullies are insensitive to how their actions and behaviors. They pick on and tease others with little to no regard to it may make someone feel. According to Stopbullying.org, Kids may be bulling others if the blame others for their problems. (“Signs a Child is Bullying Others,” n.d.)
There are risk factors that may put children at risk of becoming bullies. For example, according to Mishna (2012), Boys tend to bully more than girls. Other risk factors include social relationships, popularity, class, and family situations. Mishna (2012) states “The families of children who bully are prone to lack warmth or be excessively permissive”. Children who have witnessed abuse, or have been bullied by siblings are at a higher risk of becoming a bully. Some personality and behavior risk factors can be low self-esteem, aggressive behavior, lack of empathy, harassment from others, physical strength, and a low tolerance of others actions.
What about the victim? Who is a victim of bullying? A victim of bullying is someone who has suffered repeated, intentional, acts of verbal or physical aggression from a bully. What characteristics and behaviors might a victim of bullying have? Some characteristics and behaviors of bullying victims may include exhibiting insecurity, being an introvert, having special needs or a learning disability, or being smaller and weaker. Often victims of bullying have low self-confidence, poor social skills and are socially withdrawn. They can also be hyper-sensitive to the actions of other, and are usually dependent on their parents and adult figures. Mishna (2012) states, “Students may become the target of bullying when they do not fit into the mold of the “ideal” student with respect to countless features”.
Just as there are risk factors that may lead to becoming a bully, there are