What is Bullying?
Bullying is repeated, negative, aggressive behavior with an imbalance of power over an extended period. It takes four forms:
- Physical: Using physical actions like hitting, kicking, or damaging property.
- Verbal: Employing words to belittle, insult, or hurt others.
- Social Isolation: Excluding someone deliberately from social situations to cause harm.
- Cyberbullying: Threatening or harassing behavior using digital technology.
What is Polyvictimization?
Polyvictimization involves exposure to multiple types of violence. It includes child abuse/neglect, childhood sexual abuse, bullying, domestic violence, and more. Understanding and addressing polyvictimization is crucial, as it can lead to severe consequences into adulthood.
1 in 5 American children may be polyvictims. Children experiencing polyvictimization are at greater risk of mental health issues in adulthood, such as impaired development, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and PTSD.
The Consequences are Too Great to Ignore
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- Physical ailments (e.g., headaches, stomach aches)
- School absenteeism and academic decline
- Potential for retaliatory violence
Bullying contributes to youth violence, including suicide. It’s the 4th leading cause of death in adolescents.
How Adults Can Be Someone and Intervene
Ignoring or allowing bullying to persist is not the solution. Empower your child to be their own advocate. If your child discloses being bullied:
- Talk and Listen: Ask questions, document details, and support your child.
- Reinforce: Assure your child it’s not their fault, and they don’t deserve to be bullied.
- Non-violent Strategies: Teach non-violent methods to stand up for themselves.
- Involve the School: Partner with the school, addressing the issue together.
- Cyberbullying: Respond appropriately, document, and involve authorities if needed.
Together, we can create a safe environment for children. Join us in our efforts to prevent bullying and protect the well-being of our youth.