What is Bullying?

Bullying is: Repetitive, Intentional and shows an imbalance of Power

What is bullying? In the book, The Comfort Zone written by Deb Landry, Meline Kevorkian Ed.D. and Robin D’Antona, Ed.D.  the authors summarize bullying as intentional, repetitive and always involving an imbalance of power. To elaborate on the definition we know that many people might think this behavior is simply explained. However it is not.

Their first image of bullying might be of a physically intimidating boy beating up a smaller classmate. While that can still be considered bullying today, parents need to know that bullying behaviors can be much more complex and varied than the stereotype bullying might be of a physically intimidating boy beating up a smaller classmate.

 

As a starting point let’s consider a few other features that have been included in definitions of bullying. Although definitions vary from source to source, most agree that an act is defined as bullying when: The behavior hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally.

 

The targets have difficulty stopping the behavior directed at them, and struggle to defend themselves.

 

Many definitions include the statement used above of an ”imbalance of power”, described as when the student with the bullying behavior has more “power”, either physically, socially, or emotionally, such as a higher social status, is physically larger or emotionally intimidating.

 

Many other definitions include:

The types of Bullying: The behavior can be overt, with physical behaviors, such as fighting, hitting or name calling, or it can be covert, with emotional-social interactions, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose.

 

Intent on the part of the student with bullying behavior: “It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly, and with deliberation to hurt or harm,” but there is some controversy with this statement as some assert that not all bullying behavior is done with intent or that the individual bullying realizes that their behavior is hurting another individual.

 

Distinction about amount and duration: Many definitions indicate that the bullying is “repeated”, but the reality is that bullying can be circumstantial or chronic. It might be the result of a single situation, such as being the new student at school, or it might be behavior that has been directed at the individual for a long period of time.

 

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The Facts about Bullying and Suicide

 

Make sure your FACTS are researched based. This information is provided by StopBullying.gov. ​

The facts on bullying reveal it is a growing problem among teens and children. There are several different types of bullying including cyber bullying, bullying in schools as well as other forms of harassing. Continue reading to learn the facts on bullying.

Bullying can happen anywhere. Many children and teens are regular victims of bullying, which can lead to serious emotional scarring and problems with the victim’s self-esteem and self-image. Correcting these behaviors before they start or get out of hand are important for parents and educators to keep in mind. In this article we are discussing the facts on bullying and how  you can watch for warning signs in victims of bullying as well as in children who might be bullies themselves.

Types of bullying:

  • Verbal. This type of bullying usually involves name calling and or teasing

  • Social. Spreading rumors, intentionally leaving others out of activities on purpose, breaking up friendships are all examples of social bullying.

  • Physical. This traditional form of bullying involves hitting, punching, shoving and other acts of intention physical harm.

  • Cyberbullying. This method of bullying involves using the Internet, texting, email and other digital technologies to harm others.

Facts on bullying:

  • Imbalance of power. Typically those who engage in bully-like behaviors use their strength, popularity or power to harm, control or manipulate others. They will usually target those who are weaker in size or may have a difficult time defending themselves.

  • Intent to cause harm. A bully is a person who does not do things by accident. The bully intends to physically or emotionally injure a person or group of persons.

  • Repetition. Typically incidents of bullying are not a one-time thing. Bullies target the same person or group over and over again.

It is important for parents to discuss the facts on bullying with their children to help teach them how to watch out for bullying and to avoid being bullied. There are several signs parents can look for when evaluating if your child is a victim of bullying.

  • Comes  home with unexplained injuries or with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings

  • Has change in eating habits

  • Makes excuses not to go to school

  •  

  • Has fewer friends

  • Feels helpless

  • Talks about suicide

  • Acts out of character

  • Avoids certain places or playing outside alone

  • Feels like they are not good enough

  • Has trouble sleeping

  • Blames themselves for their problems

The facts on bullying also provide information on what types of signs to look for in children who might be bullying others.

  • Becomes frequently violent

  • Has trouble controlling anger

  • Is manipulative and controlling of others and situations

  • Is quick to blame others

  • Does not accept responsibility for their actions

  • Needs to win or be the best at everything

Understanding these warning signs can help parents prevent their children from becoming bullies or help them not become a victim of a bully. Counseling or therapy are good methods in helping to treat a child who exhibits symptoms of bullying. Children who are victims may also need some kind of support or counseling to help resolve underlying issues of emotional feelings of inadequacy. Children who are confident and have higher self-esteem are less likely to fall prey to the attacks of bullying.

Suicide links to Bullying: 

There is a strong link between bullying and suicide, as suggested by recent bullying-related suicides in the US and other countries. Parents, teachers, and students learn the dangers of bullying and help students who may be at risk of committing suicide.

In recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the US and across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide. Though too many adults still see bullying as “just part of being a kid,” it is a serious problem that leads to many negative effects for victims, including suicide. Many people may not realize that there is also a link between being a bully and committing suicide.

The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.

  • Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

  • A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying

  • 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above

  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

Bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.

Some schools or regions have more serious problems with bullying and suicide related to bullying. This may be due to an excessive problem with bullying at the school. It could also be related to the tendency of students who are exposed to suicide to consider suicide themselves.

 

Some of the warning signs of suicide can include:

  • Showing signs of depression, like ongoing sadness, withdrawal from others, losing interest in favorite activities, or trouble sleeping or eating

  • Talking about or showing an interest in death or dying

  • Engaging in dangerous or harmful activities, including reckless behavior, substance abuse, or self injury

  • Giving away favorite possessions and saying goodbye to people

  • Saying or expressing that they can’t handle things anymore

  • Making comments that things would be better without them

If a person is displaying these symptoms, talk to them about your concerns and get them help right away, such as from a counselor, doctor, or at the emergency room.

In some cases, it may not be obvious that a teen is thinking about suicide, such as when the suicide seems to be triggered by a particularly bad episode of bullying. In several cases where bullying victims killed themselves, bullies had told the teen that he or she should kill him or herself or that the world would be better without them. Others who hear these types of statements should be quick to stop them and explain to the victim that the bully is wrong.

 

Other ways to help people who may be considering suicide include:

  • Take all talk or threats of suicide seriously. Don’t tell the person they are wrong or that they have a lot to live for. Instead, get them immediate medical help.

  • Keep weapons and medications away from anyone who is at risk for suicide. Get these items out of the house or at least securely locked up.

  • Parents should encourage their teens to talk about bullying that takes place. It may be embarrassing for kids to admit they are the victims of bullying, and most kids don’t want to admit they have been involved in bullying. Tell victims that it’s not their fault that they are being bullied and show them love and support. Get them professional help if the bullying is serious.

  • It is a good idea for parents to insist on being included in their children’s friends on social networking sites so they can see if someone has posted mean messages about them online. Text messages may be more difficult to know about, so parents should try to keep open communications with their children about bullying.

  • Parents who see a serious bullying problem should talk to school authorities about it, and perhaps arrange a meeting with the bully’s parents. More states are implementing laws against bullying, and recent lawsuits against schools and criminal charges against bullies show that there are legal avenues to take to deal with bullies. If school authorities don’t help with an ongoing bullying problem, local police or attorneys may be able to.

 

People who are thinking about suicide should talk to someone right away or go to an emergency room. They can also call a free suicide hotline, such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Friends and relatives of suicide victims also need to find someone to talk to as they grieve, especially if they are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts themselves.

Crossroads Steps for Souls program can be found at www.CYCSaco.org 

Sources: mychildsafety.net, http://www.stopbullying.gov/

Sources as follows: 

WebMD, Depression Guide, “Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide” [online]
Nemours, KidsHealth, “Helping Kids Deal with Bullies” [online]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Prevention, “Youth Suicide” [online]
Yale University, Office of Public Affairs, “Bullying-Suicide Link Explored in New Study by Researchers at Yale”

Board of Directors
 
Deb Landry  President & Executive Director  www.DebLandry.com
Darrin A. Landry
Dawn Smith
Margaret Bushey
Christiana Roberts, RN
Drew Landry
Cheryl Gifford
Daryl Saucier
Camille Curtis
Jackie B. Watson
Kimberlee Parent
Jasmine DeRier
 ​
Advisory Board for Unite Against Bullying
 
Deb Landry
Camille Saucier
Sen. Justin Chenette 
Terry Morrison
Linda Valentino
Darrin Landry
Sandra Mekonis 
Dawn Smith, Washington County
Kimberlee Parent, Aroostook County
 
Advisory Board Crown CARES
 
Deb Landry
Dawn Smith
Jasmine DeRier
Olga Babbs
Mikele Reynolds
Mandy McQueen
Kimberlee Parent
Paige Lessard
Michelle Lessard
Ashley Estey
Crystal Annis
Erika LeClair
Shelby Cash
Yvonne Hayward
Michele Libby


Advisory Board Positive Pageantry

Jackie B. Watson, Program Director

Kayla Watson, Chairperson

Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011 

Deb Landry

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