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Bullying: Its Unseen Impacts To The Bully and The Bullied 

Bullying is a kind of aggressive behavior that many of us have been subjected to during childhood. However, the impacts of bullying do not fade away as we age. According to several researchers, panic disorders and agoraphobia are quite common among adults who were once victims of bullying. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying has adverse effects on 20% of high school students while cyber-bullying has negative impacts on approximately 16% of high school students. The harrowing memories from our childhood haunt us despite our efforts in trying to move past them. Here are some of the most common forms of bullying and their unseen effects which your child might be dealing with right now.

Forms Of Bullying

Inflicting physical torture is an obvious form of bullying. When a socially and physically strong child hurts another to gain an upper hand, the targeted child feels intimidated and browbeaten. Some general examples of physical bullying are shoving, punching, and kicking. Physical bullying seems to be the most common form of bullying to people since it is the easiest to witness. Relational bullying is another kind which involves manipulating someone into doing something they don’t want to do, spreading rumors, or shunning someone from a group. People who want to join the popular crowd and gain a higher position in society are the usual victims of this kind of bullying. This is often used by girls and can break down a tortured individual mentally and emotionally. The sad part is, relational bullying often goes unnoticed by teachers and parents. Cyber-bullying is carried out by both adults and teenagers, and obviously, social media sites are the means through which bullies victimize other people. Sharing improper snaps, impersonating and insulting someone, and embarrassing them online can damage someone’s reputation and lead them to have a mental breakdown. The worst part is, cyber-bullying doesn’t end even if you keep yourself miles away from it.

Short-Term Effects Of Bullying

Every child is different, and displaying varied behaviors while going through or after getting bullied by a contemporary is quite normal. Bullying can continue for long periods of time before an affected individual decides to seek counseling. A study involving 2,300 students was conducted by UCLA in eleven schools across Los Angeles. The consequences that a bullied victim goes through include feelings of shame, social isolation, changes in eating habits, sleep disturbance, symptoms of anxiety, school avoidance, higher risk of illness, bed-wetting, symptoms of depression, poor school performance, and psychosomatic illness such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle aches, and various other physical complaints. The bully gets affected, too, and that becomes evident from his or her poor school performance, difficulty in maintaining social relationships, addiction, and increased truancy.

Long-term Effects Of Bullying

If a bullied person fails to get proper treatment and lacks a support system, he or she will most likely fail to ward off the potential long-term effects of bullying. The symptoms that can be observed in a person with a history of being bullied are anxiety disorders, chronic depression, increased risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts, difficulty in trusting someone, self-destructive behavior, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and poor general health. Likewise, the bully is not safe from the negative impacts as they succumb from substance abuse, poor education or employment, antisocial behavior, and spousal and child abuse.

Counseling And Therapy

Discussing their traumatic experiences with a professional counselor can actually reap benefits for a bullied individual. It becomes easier for a victim to identify every troubled memory from the past and find new ways to move on from that. A number of counselors specialize in bullying therapy and work with the victims each and every day in order to boost their confidence and esteem. Moving past negative experiences is a must if someone wishes to lead a normal life.

Childhood bullying can have short-term as well as long-term effects on the health of your child. A long-term follow-up and a timely intervention can help a kid significantly. It is necessary for families, schools, and communities to join hands and work together to eradicate bullying from schools, educational institutions, and even the workplace. It should always be remembered that both the victim and the bully benefit from counseling and psycho-social support. Bullying is a serious threat to the present generation. We must all be aware and take precautionary measures before things turn for the worse.

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