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It’s bullying awareness month

October 9, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center , Salem News

Do you understand just what bullying is? That it's not only some big kid stealing a little kid's lunch money on the way to school. There is bullying in the workplace, teacher bullying, parent bullying, female bullying. All of it is wrong and still going strong.

Bullying involves an imbalance of power, intent to cause harm and picking on the same person time after time, advises

Bullying can cause victims to have higher risks of depression and anxiety that can follow them into adulthood because it causes them to feel sad and lonely, affects sleeping and eating patterns, and causes a loss of interest in activities. If the victims stay at home, they won't be subject to name-calling, teasing, exclusion from group activities, having friendships destroyed, or being the victim of vicious rumors.

Adults who were bullied in their youth are three times as likely to consider suicide. Bullying victims are more likely to have health complaints, be less likely to participate in school activities. They aren't as likely to fare well academically and are more likely to miss,, skip or drop out of school. If these things aren't bad enough, those who are bullied are more likely to retaliate with violence. In 12 out of the 15 school shootings in the 1990s, the shooter was a victim of bullying, the site advises.

The bullies aren't going to fare well, either. They have a higher risk for alcohol and other substance abuse, fighting, dropping out of school and ending up with a criminal conviction. They may be abusers in the making.

Somehow everyone manages to survive, but what long term effects are carried through life? As preventive health care is advised for everyone, society should promote the prevention of bullying for good mental health.

Did "Joey" come home with injuries he can't (won't) talk about? Were some of his belongings damaged or missing?

Is he sick at his stomach when it's time to go to school?

Is his behavior out-of-character? Eating patterns changed?

Does he avoid being outdoors, hanging out with friends?

Does he feel like he's just not good enough?

Does he talk about suicide?

On the other hand, the signs of being a bully raise questions.

Does he explode in anger? Is he quick to blame others?

Is he a manipulator, a controller?

Does he refuse to take responsibility for his actions?

Does he have to be the best at everything he does?

Do parents really bully their children? Bullying parents, advises, "are often over-bearing and controlling"Emotional and mental bullying works by using methods of demeaning speech and other techniques that are meant to help the bully feel superior." They may even go so far as to buy their children on social groups online.

Teachers can be involved in bullying. They can bully in the manner in which they interact with and speak to their students. They may degrade the student. It's not just the teachers, though. It may be office staff, coaches, security, custodians or the principal. Teachers may be victims of bullying through students who disrupt class, vandalize the teacher's property or verbal abuse, or physical attacks.

Teachers may observe bullying but do nothing about it, pretend they don't see it happening.

Why do people bully? Everyone is a product of the environment in which they are raised. Regardless of the reasons why one person bullies another, it is unacceptable behavior.

Awareness of the problem is essential for every citizen. The problem affects everyone. If we aren't a part of the solution, we are a part of the problem.

For more information about bullying, contact Family Recovery Center at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by the United Way of Northern Columbiana County.



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